Installing Bluetooth & HIDD Devices..

If you’re new to Bluetooth, then please read through the Bluetooth Primer tutorial before attempting this. It could save you a lot of headache later on πŸ™‚

Installing and using Bluetooth has been wrought with problems for me, even during my Windows days. There were always special drivers to install and problems with the Bluetooth stack. Though overcoming these issues was a hassle, the benefits are worthwhile. Having wireless access to a variety of devices and gadgets reduces the need for carrying special cables, adapters, and dongles.

When I started using Ubuntu full-time, getting this technology to work was of paramount concern. I believed the configuration would be difficult and very technical, and i am happy to say it is not.

Installing the Adapter:

In order to get the entire thing working, I suggest you install the following applications and utilities..

sudo apt-get install bluez-utils bluez-pin bluetooth bluez-gnome gnome-bluetooth bluez-passkey-gnome

If you want to use a PCMCIA Bluetooth adaptor, you will also need to install..

sudo apt-get install bluez-pcmcia-support

Command line users:

If you don’t want to install all the Gnome files then you will need to install the libopenobex1 package separately. This software allows you to transfer files from a Linux PC to most mobile devices. This normally gets installed at the same time as all the Gnome Bluetooth software, but a command line user will need to Install it by typing sudo apt-get install libopenobex1 into the terminal.

Unfortunately I can’t seem to trace any information on using libopenobex1 without the rest of the Gnome Bluetooth software. I would suggest you install everything, even if you aren’t using Gnome. I’ll try & find out what other software a command line user can use to transfer files soon, but no promises πŸ˜‰

You will also need to edit your hcid.conf file to enable other Bluetooth devices to connect to your computer; so in the terminal type..

sudo nano /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf

Set the options up as the following (don’t copy & paste these)..

autoinit auto; – Automatically initialize new devices.

security auto; – Automatically allows incoming connections from Bluetooth devices with the correct security code.

passkey 1234“; – This will be the security code that you need to enter within your Bluetooth device before it will pair up with your computer. Make sure that you put the new code within the speech marks.

This set up will allow for easy connections from Bluetooth devices, while still being secure enough. You will have to keep your passkey/security code to yourself though, or anyone else could connect to it too.

Now it’s time to restart the Bluetooth service.

I have a PCMCIA Bluetooth adapter, and needed to reboot my machine in order for this to take effect. For some people using a USB Bluetooth adapter, this can be done with one of the following commands..

sudo /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart

sudo /etc/init.d/bluez-utils restart

If the first command does not work for you, simply try the second one.

Now plug in your USB Bluetooth adapter (if you have one) & your device should be recognized.

An icon will appear in the top right area of your screen if your using the Gnome GUI, but command line users will need to type hciconfig into the terminal to see if it was set up & recognized correctly.

The reply that you get from hciconfig should be something like this..

hci0: Type: USB
BD Address: 00:E0:98:CC:9E:A5 ACL MTU: 192:8 SCO MTU: 64:8
RX bytes:884 acl:0 sco:0 events:44 errors:0
TX bytes:414 acl:0 sco:0 commands:27 errors:0

The parts in bold are what you need to check for.

If for any reason the Bluetooth icon does not show up, or it’s not completely recognized from within the terminal, I would suggest leaving the Bluetooth adapter plugged in and rebooting your machine.

Congratulations! Bluetooth is now installed πŸ˜€

Connecting to HIDD (Human interface) Devices:

In order to begin using other devices such as a mouse with your newly installed adapter, you will need to discover and pair them together.

The first step to making this connection is to place the human input device into discovery mode. This is slightly different for every device, so read your manual to determine how this is accomplished. Once the device is in discovery mode, a scan for nearby devices can be initiated with the following command..

sudo hidd –search

Which should (hopefully) display this..
Searching …
Connecting to device aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff

If you’re lucky, the connection will automatically be made for you, as is the case above. If the device is not found, ensure it’s in discovery mode, and try again. For many devices the discovery mode disables itself after a few seconds. Eventually your system should find the device.

If the connection is not made automatically, and instead you are provided with the device’s mac address, you can manually make the connection with..

sudo hidd –connect aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff

Unfortunately.. if you reboot your computer the connection will not be remembered by default. To force Ubuntu to remember your device permanently, you will need to edit the Bluetooth configuration file..

sudo nano /etc/default/bluetooth (or sudo nano /etc/default/bluez-utils for some)

Look for the line labelled HIDD_ENABLED=0 and change it to..


If this does not work for you, you may also need to add the following to the HIDD_OPTIONS line..

HIDD_OPTIONS=”–connect aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff –server”

This command should ensure a permanent connection to any HIDD device.

Hopefully you have found this tutorial useful and informative. In the near future I will be adding a follow up tutorial with instructions on using your Bluetooth phone with Ubuntu.


Call to Arms..


You can’t beat a magazine that’s free.. especially when the magazine is put together by the Ubuntu community itself πŸ˜€

Full Circle magazine is an e-magazine that’s looking for volunteers to contribute articles, howto’s, tutorials & for people to write up monthly columns. The magazine itself will contain articles on the Ubuntu operating system (of course), open source news & the latest technology.

Issue 0 is already on the site for downloading in a few different languages. This is only a preview release, but it gives a quick overview of how the Ubuntu operating system has changed over the past 3 years. It’s an interesting read & will give you a small glimpse of what to expect from future editions.

Issue 1 will be the first official release, & will be packed out with the types of articles that you find in the usual paper magazines.

If you feel that you’ve got some thing to contribute, then why not pop along to the web site where you can find full details on how to sign up. You don’t even have to assign yourself to only one job if you don’t want to.

Contributing to something like this can be a very rewarding experience in itself (even though you don’t actually get paid) & I might even see if any of my tutorials will be helpful to them πŸ™‚

Dvorak Keyboard Part1..

There are tons of sites on the Internet giving information on the Dvorak simplified keyboard, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here.

For a good run through.. you can check out the rather mundane (but informative) Wikipedia entry & read the online comic book called The Zine, which gives a humorous look at the origins of the Qwerty & Dvorak keyboard layouts.

What I will stress to you is the benefits that the average user can achieve by swapping their keyboard over to the Dvorak system..

It’s easier & faster to learn touch typing than on a Qwerty keyboard.

You can type faster on a Dvorak keyboard.

Your prone to making less errors when typing on a Dvorak keyboard.

Less strain on the hands, resulting in being able to type for longer & there’s a lot less chance of the user getting repetitive strain injuries with a Dvorak keyboard.

If these all sound like good reasons to at least try it, then read on πŸ™‚

Part1 of this tutorial will show you how to set up your Ubuntu installation, to allow the switching between the Dvorak & Qwerty layouts as desired. This will give you the chance to test out the Dvorak system without fully committing to it first.

WARNING: This tutorial has been written for VAIO laptops that use the United Kingdom keyboard, although it should be easy enough to modify for keyboards of different languages.


The first thing that you need to do before even attempting to change your keyboards layout to another one, is to write down your Gnome username & password as it will need to be entered in the new layout. This is so you don’t accidentally lock yourself out of your own system.

Example: A username of dave would need to be entered as eak. & a password of laptop would need to be entered as nalyrl, when using the Dvorak software layout on a Qwerty hardware keyboard.

You can do this by checking the picture below & comparing it to your laptops actual keyboard..


Once this is done, you can continue to change the software layout in Gnome..

Click on Gnomes System menu, enter the Preferences sub menu & choose the Keyboard option. This will start up the Keyboard Preferences program.

Click on the Layouts tab at the top & choose to Add another layout. This will open up the new window as shown below..


Scroll down the left hand side until you can see United Kingdom. Click the small arrow on the left of the writing to see all of the options. Choose the Dvorak one & exit the window by clicking the Ok button.

You should now have the two layouts in your Keyboard Preference program..


Make sure that the Dvorak layout is the lower one & un-ticked.

Feel free to close the Keyboard Preferences program now, as you’ve just set up Gnome to change to either layout as desired πŸ˜€

The next step requires you to edit your xorg.conf file. After you do this you will be able to log into Gnome using either the Qwerty or Dvorak settings.

Open up a terminal & enter..

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf – opens up the text file in an editor.

You will have this section there already..

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “gb”

Comment out the existing layout option with a # & add the following two lines & comment out the existing language line so it looks like this (without the spaces in between)..

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”

#Option "XkbLayout"     "gb"
Option "XkbLayout"     "dvorak,gb"
Option "XkbOptions"     "grp:shift_toggle"


Now you need to save the file & restart your laptop.

When the laptop reboots & you get to the Gnome log in, you can press both shift keys to change the keyboard layout to Qwerty. That way anyone who doesn’t know the Dvorak layout can still log onto your computer.

Of course this gives you the added bonus of extra security too. Any one that doesn’t know this system, will be pressing a button & having something completely different show up on the screen πŸ˜€

When you’ve logged in & the Gnome desktop starts up, a pop up box will appear telling you that the X server & Gnome are using different settings. It will ask you which settings you would like to use; choose Gnome to keep your default layout as Qwerty within the Gnome desktop. The default layout for the X server will be Dvorak though.

All you need to do to swap keyboard inputs in either the X server or Gnome desktop now, is to press both of the Shift Keys together.

Testing Qwerty Layout:

`Β¬ 1! 2″ 3Β£ 4$ 5% 6^ 7& 8* 9( 0) -_ =+
qQ wW eE rR tT yY uU iI oO pP [{ ]}
aA sS dD fF gG hH jJ kK lL ;: ‘@ #~
\| zZ xX cC vV bB nN mM ,< .> /?

With right Alt Gr key pressed:

| ΒΉ Β² Β³ € Β½ ΒΎ { [ ] } \ ΒΈ
@ Ε‚ e ΒΆ Ε§ ← ↓ β†’ ΓΈ ΓΎ Β¨ ~
Γ¦ ß Γ° Δ‘ Ε‹ Δ§ j ΔΈ Ε‚ Β΄ ^ `
| Β« Β» Β’ β€œ ” n Β΅ Β·


Testing Dvorak Layout:

`~ 1! 2″ 3Β£ 4$ 5% 6^ 7& 8* 9( 0) [{ ]}
‘@ ,< .> pP yY fF gG cC rR lL /? =+
aA oO eE uU iI dD hH tT nN sS -_ #~
\| ;: qQ jJ kK xX bB mM wW vV zZ

With right Alt Gr key pressed:

` 1 Β² Β³ € 5 ^ 7 8 ` 0 [ ~
Β΄ ΒΈ Λ™ p y f g c r l / =
a o e u i d h t n s – #
| Λ› q j k x b m w v z


Number Lock On: (same for both)

7 8 9 / Enter
4 5 6 *
1 2 3 –
0 . +

Optional Software:

Right click a task bar in Gnome & choose the Add to Panel.. option.
Scroll down the list & select the Keyboard Indicator from the utilities section, then close the Add to Panel menu.

You should now see the letters GBr in the task bar. This Shows that you are in Qwerty mode. If you press both the Shift keys together, the writing will change & display GBrΒ² to show that you have changed to Dvorak mode. Press both the Shift keys again & it will change back.

Dvorak7min is a simple ncurses-based typing tutor for those trying to become fluent with the Dvorak keyboard layout. This is the software that you need if your serious about learning to use the Dvorak system.

To install this program, enter the following line into a terminal..

sudo apt-get install dvorak7min

Once it’s installed type dvorak7min into a terminal to start the program.

GNU Typist or gtypist as it’s more commonly known, is a universal typing tutor that can teach you correct typing practises for both the Qwerty & Dvorak systems, or help you to improve your current skills by practising exercises on a regular basis.

To install this program, enter the following line into a terminal..

sudo apt-get install gtypist

Type gtypist in to a terminal to start the program.

That should do for now I think πŸ™‚

P.S. The printable SVG keyboard that I made for this tutorial can be downloaded from here!

Part2 of this tutorial will show you how to change over the keys on your keyboard to make it into a true Dvorak laptop.
I’m not too sure when I’ll be doing the second part of this tutorial though, as I’m currently busy writing other tutorials & that will be a lot faster for me with the default Qwerty layout.. for now anyway πŸ˜‰

FS Hardware Cheat Sheets..

A while ago I made a couple of FS Hardware Cheat Sheets, that included information on all of the different model of laptops within the VGN-FS VAIO range.

I’ve recently changed over my broadband provider & in doing so I forgot to download the files from the web space that they were stored on (doh!). Of course this means that I haven’t got any copies of these files myself now 😦

I would be very grateful if those of you that downloaded the files from me, could look over your hard drives to see if you still have them & send me them back somehow. These files took me over week to make & I really don’t want to have to do them all over again lol.

These are the links to the original posts..

FS Hardware Cheat Sheets

FS-USA Hardware Cheat Sheets

Even if you only have the PDF files, please get in touch with me πŸ™‚

New Member Alert & Update..

You may have noticed that the FNKey tutorial has been updated today; that’s because there’s a new member on the UbuntuFS site called Schwieb. He’s the one that you need to thank for the fix which has allowed me to finally get the tutorial working correctly (hurrah!). Who’d have guessed that it was only a case of copying one stupid file to a different location :(.

Schwieb is currently working on a Bluetooth tutorial for us all & he also hinted that he may work on an OpenVPN one too. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can come up with & I hope that you all make him feel welcome πŸ˜€

As for me.. I’ll be working on a couple of new tutorials & adding the odd post now & again.

Thanks as always to people who have left feedback on the site & I hope that the site continues to grow & be ever more useful to the Ubuntu community.

FN Key Tutorial (Part 3)..

**** WARNING: This will only work for releases up to Feisty. For Gutsy release and later check here! (only for FS model laptops). If you don’t have an FS model laptop, you can try this tutorial anyway but don’t install the Sony_acpi software from part 1 and download the 2.0.1 version of the fsfn software from here and use that in part 2. I’ve not tried this myself though, so please leave a comment if it works for you πŸ™‚ ****

You can find Part 1 of the tutorial here & Part 2 here!

Part 3 – This will be all about the fine tuning your Sony Fn Keys configuration file & making the software auto run at boot time.

Auto run the FSFN software on boot:

Open up a terminal, type in the BOLD parts of these lines one at a time in order & press enter after each one..

-Downloads the needed file to your desktop.

sudo mv fsfn.txt /etc/init.d/fsfn – This command will copy the file into the correct directory & renames it to fsfn.

cd /etc/init.d/ – Navigates you into the same directory that you just moved the file into.

sudo chown root:root fsfn && sudo chmod +x fsfn – This will change the owner of the file to root & stop anyone else from using it without sudo.

sudo update-rc.d fsfn defaults – This is the command that updates the boot process to include the FSFN daemon.

Auto run the On Screen Display software on boot:

If you want the on screen display to show up when you change volume/brightness you need to add it to the Gnome Sessions Manager. Dapper & Edgy users will need to click here to find out how to do that, as there’s currently a problem with the permissions for the default installs.

In the Startup Programs tab; click on the New button on the right to add your program..

Call it something like fsfn display in the Name: box & type fsfn -o in the Command: box & press the OK button to save it.


Now you just need to press the Close button & save your entry.

Don’t restart just yet as you still need to tweak your settings a little πŸ˜€

Tweaking your configuration:

sudo killall fsfn – to stop the FSFN daemon.

sudo gedit /etc/fsfn.conf – This will open up the main configuration file in the text editor.

You’ll find the following options in the file, just remove the # from the beginning of a line to activate them or add it to disable them..


With the Device option set to AUTO, you don’t need to manually find out what event number your keyboard works on.


These are your sound cards options.
The PCM option seems to work the best for me, but try them all to see which one you prefer.


Adding different targets to these fields will override the default key actions.
e.g. S1_CMD=/usr/bin/gnome-system-monitor to start up the Gnome System Monitor when you press the S1 button.

Lets you choose which font the On Screen Display uses.


Allows you to choose which colours the On Screen Display uses for the font.
VCOLOR = Volume colour
BCOLOR = Brightness colour
VCOLORZ = Mute Volume colour
(I’ve changed these to make them fit in with the Ubuntu colour scheme a little better)


Sets the default brightness for your laptop to boot up with.
(The default is 3)

Allows you to manually set the amount of time that the On Screen Display shows for.
(The default is 3)

If you find that the software won’t change your brightness correctly, then try enabling this option.

You should now have all the info that you need to set this software up to your preference. Don’t forget to save the file before exiting πŸ™‚

Once you’ve finished with the tweaking, restart your laptop & you will have both of the programs load automatically & your Fn key will work as it should.

Huge thanks to everybody who’s worked on the FSFN software & to all the people in the Gentoo & Ubuntu forums who made this a lot easier than it would have been without them.

FN Key Tutorial (Part 2)..

**** WARNING: This will only work for releases up to Feisty. For Gutsy release and later check here! (only for FS model laptops). If you don’t have an FS model laptop, you can try this tutorial anyway but download the 2.0.1 version of the fsfn software from here and use that in place of the usual sony fn key software. I’ve not tried this myself though, so please leave a comment if it works for you πŸ™‚ ****

You can find Part 1 of the tutorial here & Part 3 here!

Part 2 – Guides you through the downloading, installing & testing of the Sony Fn Key software.

WARNING: Although the FSFN software has been known to work on different models of Sony VAIO laptops, this tutorial is only for the FS series.


Open up a new terminal.

Type the following BOLD parts of the lines into your terminal in order, pressing the enter button after each one..

wget – Downloads the FSFN software archive to your desktop.

tar zxvf fsfn-1.1-take2.tar.gz – This command extracts the contents of the archive to your desktop.

cd fsfn-1.1 – Navigates you into the folder you just extracted from the archive.

./configure && make && sudo make install – Configures & installs the software to your system.

cd .. – Navigates you back into your home folder.


Now it’s installed, it’s time to test it & make sure that the keys all register as they should.
Once again in the terminal type..

sudo fsfn – This will start the FSFN daemon.

sudo fsfn -o – Starts up the on screen display software.

Now you can try your Fn key + all of the combination keys (F4 etc.) to make sure they work.
Just press Ctrl+c to exit back to the command line when finished πŸ™‚

WARNING: Don’t try Fn+F12 for hibernate just yet. There are known problems with hibernate & suspend + the software’s currently not set up for it.


You might have noticed that it doesn’t work quite as well as it should just yet & seems to jump about a little too much 😦
This is because it’s still missing the software’s main configuration file & it seems to need the complete installation before it settles down & works as well as it should. Trust me when I tell you that this software works pretty much spot on when finished πŸ˜€

sudo killall fsfn – unloads the FSFN daemon again before you change any settings.

wget – Downloads the basic configuration file to your desktop.

sudo mv fsfn.conf.txt /etc/fsfn.conf – Moves the configuration file to the correct directory & renames it.

sudo chown root /etc/fsfn.conf – Makes the file only editable by the root user (or a user with sudo) for security.

Feel free to either delete or move the downloaded files from your home folder now. You won’t be needing them any more πŸ™‚

sudo rm -r fsfn-1.1-take2.tar.gz – Deletes the downloaded archive.

sudo rm -r fsfn-1.1 – Deletes the extracted fsfn-1.1 folder.

That’s pretty much it for now πŸ™‚