The BlackBerry in a World without Windows

Using the RIM BlackBerry Curve with Linux.

Unless you have assigned a password for your Curve, the only change needed here is to replace 3009efe3 with the correct PIN, which you can find using btool -l. If you have trouble with sync, you can uncomment DebugMode. Before syncing, Evolution and its back-end servers should be shut down:

evolution --force-shutdown

Then, syncing is as easy as:

msynctool --sync evo-barry

Note: on my Debian system, msynctool could not connect to the BlackBerry unless it was able to run with elevated privileges:

sudo chmod +s /usr/bin/msynctool

You also could change the permissions on the USB device to correct this problem.

Sync still is very much in alpha, and it can destroy your data! Be sure you have backups of both the Curve and Evolution databases before you sync.

Wrapping Up: Alternatives and the Future

My BlackBerry does not connect to a BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), so I have not tested any interactions between Barry and enterprise systems.

There is another free software project with the goal of making BlackBerry functionality available to Linux users. XmBlackBerry is a single GUI program, as opposed to Barry's suite of several mostly command-line tools. I went with Barry for myself and for this article, because XmBlackBerry hasn't had a release in more than a year, and I am comfortable on the command line. If you have a BlackBerry, keep an eye on XmBlackBerry, which is being actively developed and looks very promising.

Both Barry and XmBlackBerry support using the phone as a tethered modem to connect your computer to a cellular data network. However, at this time, neither works correctly with the 8320. I have reported this to the Barry developers, and by the time you read this article, the problem may have been fixed. I hope so, because using the Curve as a modem is almost the only reason I ever boot my laptop into Windows.

When I started using Linux in the early 1990s, there was a real feeling of adventure. Every time you installed a program, you were likely to have to solve some sort of problem or invent a workaround. I don't regret the fact that Linux and free software are so polished and generally easy to use. Still, it's exciting to be working with software on the cutting edge again. BlackBerry support in Linux still is a work in progress, but it's just the sort of fun challenge that got a lot of us into this in the first place. I'm looking forward to seeing how things progress.

Carl Fink has, in his career, been a museum guide, schoolteacher, system administrator, programmer and corporate trainer. These days, he makes his living as a writer and spends much of his spare time helping to put on I-CON, an annual science-fiction convention on Long Island. He blogs at



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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