The BlackBerry in a World without Windows

Using the RIM BlackBerry Curve with Linux.

(I have obscured my device and pin numbers in the above output.)

Barry's btool offers a lot of functionality, and I encourage you to do a man btool to learn more.

To back up my phone's databases, I used the barrybackup application. The installer did not set the program to setuid root, which is required. I had to sudo chmod +s /usr/local/bin/barrybackup before the program would work correctly.

Figure 1. BarryBackup

Simply click the Backup button, and all databases are backed up. You can configure which databases are backed up and also choose to restore only certain databases, by clicking Edit→Config. Backups are stored as tar.gz files in ~/.barry/backup/FFFFFFFF, where that last hex number is your device PIN.

Audio and Video on the Curve

I got this phone specifically to replace my MP3 player. It has excellent sound and video quality (given the tiny screen's limitations), and a high-capacity microSD card can hold a lot of music. Of course, given that the card must hold music, video, photos taken with the built-in camera, ebooks and everything else, you will want to use the most efficient file formats.

First, let's discuss music. The Curve supports MP3, AAC, MIDI and WMA files for audio. Because I'm trying to use free tools as much as possible, WMA and AAC formats are problematic, leaving me with MP3. (MIDI is a specialized format not usable for recorded music.) MP3 files also are supported in fapg (see below).

For CD audio, I use A Better CD Encoder (abcde) to rip the CD, with the command:

abcde -o mp3

This rips the CD into MP3 files in the current directory. As abcde uses lame for MP3 encoding, you can control the details of the files created to the finest detail, but the default settings actually are more than good enough for me.

The video screen on the Curve has a resolution of 320x240. It accepts video in MP4, 3GP and WMV formats. Obviously, we free-software types prefer to use MP4 (even if it's a patented format) over WMV. I'm not aware of any good free tools to create 3GP (Third-Generation Phone) files.

The Swiss Army knife of free software video encoders is FFmpeg. For Debian distributions, you can obtain it by adding the repository at to your /etc/apt/sources.list, then running sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ffmpeg. Starting with any supported video, converting is as simple as this command:

ffmpeg -i myvideo.avi -s 320x240 -b 64k --ab 64k myvideo.mp4

This sets the dimensions to 320x240, and the audio and video bitrates to 64kbps. You can adjust these settings to taste. Note that the Curve can play back video compressed using only the MPEG 4 Part Two Advanced Simple Protocol (ASP). H.264, or MPEG 4 Advanced Video Codec, is not supported.

Transferring audio and video files to the handset can be done with cp or a file manager like Krusader. Audio files should be stored in /Blackberry/music, and video in /Blackberry/videos. You can create subfolders within these for your own convenience, but the handset will ignore them and catalog the media based only on metadata (also known as ID3 tags) embedded in the files. Music can be viewed by Artist, Album, Genre or Playlists. The Media application works with M3U playlists, which can be created using fapg (the FAst Playlist Generator, see Resources). M3U playlists are simple text files and can be modified using any editor.

When the Curve is disconnected from your computer, the Media application scans the music and video directories and generates lists of available audio and video files. This takes a few minutes, depending on how much is stored on the microSD card. Your songs may not be available until the scan is complete.

Synchronizing with Evolution

NetDirect has an excellent document explaining how to sync your BlackBerry Contacts and Appointments with Evolution using Barry here: To do so requires that you install the Debian packages multisync-tools and libopensync0.

Before synchronizing, you must create a sync group that includes Evolution and the Barry opensync plugin (Listing 1).

Unless you have changed the default locations of the Evolution data files, you shouldn't need to change anything in the configuration file for evo2-sync. The barry-sync default configuration file looks like Listing 2.



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bb backup evolution sync not working

pv's picture

I use 9.04 ubuntu and BB 8900 curve. Even after installing all, when I do barrybackup the window comes, no pin is shown and my bb shows "connecting to desktop" but after some time the window in my laptop greys out and errors. But btool finds my pin number alright. Due to this, I could not sync with evolutions as the BB plugin not works. Please help me
thanks in advance

Blackberry Modem for Linux, 8 Easy steps for connecting Internet

mostanser's picture

hi all
I am excited to get internet via my Blackberry in my fedora 10 machine. I have shared my actions for you guys in 8 easy steps. See this, hope you will be connected via your Blackberry.

Connect Internet Using your Blackberry for Linux Users

Best regards