How to hotsync the Palm Centro with a Fedora 7 Linux desktop via USB

By Tom Moertel
Posted on
Tags: linux, fedora, palm, centro, hotsync, usb

I just got a Palm Centro smartphone, and I love it. Getting it to sync with my Linux workstation, however, was tricky, so I’m posting this recipe in hopes that it might save you some time.

The “visor” kernel driver is supposed to make compatible Palm handhelds look like serial devices when attached via a USB cable. For me, it didn’t work. Instead, I had to blacklist the driver and then use libusb to talk to the Centro. Here’s the recipe:

First, blacklist the “visor” kernel driver:

# echo blacklist visor >> /etc/modprobe.conf
# modprobe -qr visor

Second, make sure libusb is installed:

# yum install libusb

Third, edit the system’s udev rules to make sure your user account can access the device files used to talk to the Centro. On my Fedora 7 setup, I found the right rule in /etc/udev/rules.d/50-udev.rules:

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb_endpoint", \
ATTR{bEndpointAddress}=="?*", ATTRS{devnum}=="?*", ATTRS{busnum}=="?*", \
NAME="bus/usb/$attr{busnum}/$attr{devnum}_ep/$attr{bEndpointAddress}", \
MODE="0644", SYMLINK+="%k"

I edited the last line of the rule, changing the mode to 0664 and adding a GROUP key to assign the Centro devices to my exclusive user group:

MODE="0664", SYMLINK+="%k", GROUP="thor"

This change lets my account talk to the Centro without having to take on root privileges. (For bonus points you could set up a more-specific rule to match just your Centro. The rule above, as is, will actually match other devices, too.)

Fourth, tell udev to reload the rules:

# udevcontrol reload_rules

Finally, set up a Palm-device connection via gnome-pilot. Be sure to select USB for the Type and “usb:” from the Device drop-down list.

That’s it. If you’re lucky like me, you should now be ready to hotsync your Palm Centro!

Update: Even better, this handy HOWTO shows you to sync via Bluetooth, which is more convenient than hooking up a USB cable. I’m now using this method.

Update 2: If you want to use USB to hotsync your Centro, there is a method that’s more convenient than setting up udev rules. Just create a perms file for pam_console_apply that tells it to give the console user permission to access your Centro. To do so, create a file /etc/security/console.perms.d/60-libpisock.perms and put the following in it:

<libpisock>=/dev/usbdev* /dev/bus/usb/[0-9]*/[0-9]*
<console> 0644 <libpisock> 0644 root

That’s it. (You’ll still need to use libusb.)

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