Using Bluetooth with Linux

Get Bluetooth up and running quickly under Linux 2.4.

As you might expect, getting Bluetooth to work under Linux takes a little more work than other operating systems. First, it should be noted that there are actually three distinct Bluetooth protocol stacks for Linux: Affix, OpenBT, and BlueZ, each with varying support for different Bluetooth adapters, and each with somewhat distinct means of configuration. Since BlueZ has been crowned as the “official” Linux Bluetooth stack, that’s the one we’ll focus on here.

First, make sure you have a supported Bluetooth adapter. You can find a reasonably current list of BlueZ-supported hardware at

Next, you’ll need to make sure that your kernel has Bluetooth support enabled. Kernels shipped with both the Red Hat 9.0 and Debian “Sarge” distributions already include Bluetooth support. You can test your kernel for Bluetooth supports by running modprobe rfcomm as root. If the modprobe fails, you’ll need to rebuild your kernel.

In the event of a failure, build and install a fresh copy of the Linux kernel at Version 2.4.21 or better (or 2.4.20 with the -mh6 patch). When you configure the kernel, select all of the options under “Bluetooth support” to be built as separate modules. However, be sure that the “USB Bluetooth support” option under “USB support” is disabled—this compiles in UART support the OpenBT protocol stack, which will interfere with the BlueZ stack. ...

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