All Unkept
Posted in: KDE, Linux  —  February 11, 2010 at 05:07 PM

Blackberry Curve ↔ KDE-PIM sync on Kubuntu Karmic. FAIL

by Luke Plant

For the sake of anyone else who might want to know about this in advance, I'll blog my failure.

I tried with Kubuntu Karmic, and the following steps:

  1. Install the necessary packages:

    sudo aptitude install opensync-plugin-kdepim opensyncutils barrybackup-gui barry-util opensync-plugin-barry
    
  2. Plug in the Blackberry, and choose "Mass storage" mode on the Blackberry.

  3. Set up permissions to allow a non-root user to access the device. I added the file /etc/udev/rules.d/040-devices.rules, with the following contents:

    BUS=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0fca", SYSFS{idProduct}=="8004", GROUP="admin"
    

    The above line gives permissions to all users of group 'admin', which includes my normal user. The numbers "0fca" and "8004" are device numbers obtainable from lsusb:

    lsusb | grep "Research In Motion"
    

    Result:

    Bus 002 Device 008: ID 0fca:8004 Research In Motion, Ltd.
    

    You will need to unplug the Blackberry and plug back in after this step.

  4. Check you can access the Blackberry.

    btool -t
    

    This should list a series of databases on the Blackberry

  5. Back up the current contents:

    barrybackup
    

    Note the pin for later, and follow the prompts to backup the Blackberry data.

  6. Back up your KDE-PIM data, in case of any corruption, duplicate elements etc. (It happened to me!).

  7. Create a msynctool configuration for doing the synchronisation.

    msynctool --addgroup Blackberry
    msynctool --addmember Blackberry barry-sync
    msynctool --addmember Blackberry kdepim-sync
    msynctool --showgroup Blackberry
    

    The final command should show the first member as missing configuration. Do the following

    msynctool --configure Blackberry 1
    

    and insert your pin in the relevant place.

  8. Moment of truth. Close KOrganizer and KMail, then:

    msynctool --sync Blackberry
    

I came across the following major bugs:

  • Syncing never completes, and I have to press Ctrl-C to abort.
  • When I try to sync a second/third time, I end up with lots of duplicates on my computer, caused by items from the Blackberry being copied back. I'm not sure if they are to do with the unclean abort, or the following symptoms: * 'All day events'. A duplicate appears with the start time set to '0:00' * Daylight savings problems - for summer events, a duplicate appears 1 hour different from the original * Items from my Google calendar (which is a read only calendar) got copied back to my main calendar.
  • Each time I attempt to sync, duplicate events and contacts build up on the Blackberry as well.
  • Using barrybackup to restore to a clean state with the backup made previously fails with lots of errors. By removing some items in ~/.barry/backup/<pin>/config, I've got it to apparently succeed, but the contacts and calendar on the Blackberry are not cleared out, which is the point of the exercise. * There is a way to clear calendar/contacts on the Blackberry. Go to Calendar -> Menu -> Options. Type RSET. The calendar will be cleared (though it says nothing). Repeat for contacts. This time you will get a prompt about clearing. Clearing out the msynctool database is also a good idea to keep further attempts clean and fast.

In the end, a one-time, one-way sync is all that I have been able to achieve. That is quite disappointing, since none of the web pages I found before deciding on a Blackberry mentioned any problems like these.

I tried upgrading all the barry packages from 0.14 to 0.16, but got lots more errors - when trying to send data to the Blackberry I just got "Timeout in usb_bulk_read" blah blah and do data was actually sent.

Sources:

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