Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 12th Sep, 2007

Tiny wireless footsteps

I bought a tiny Targus bluetooth mouse yesterday in preparation for our trip overseas - I can stand using the touch pad for a good long time, but having a mouse that was also small and wire-free sounded like a good thing. Being cautious, however, when I bought it I asked if I could return it if it didn't work with my computer. The lady in the shop told me that, in that case, I should bring the computer in and she would get it to work. Trying to explain what a Free and Open Source Operating System is is hard enough without people wondering how you run a Windows executable on it, so that kind of pronouncement ususally makes me want to get it working on my own.

Naturally, the manual had nothing on Linux at all - amusingly, it does have instructions for the three different driver sets that exist under Windows to talk to Bluetooth devices, all different of course. So much for standardisation, eh? I could use hcitool scan to see it but this wasn't actually connecting me to the mouse at all. Googling for the terms "fedora core" "bluetooth mouse", however, was fruitful: it took me to http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~mdc1/samsung.html, which has the following cogent instructions:

To get the Logitech V270 Bluetooth mouse to work was simple.

As root in a terminal window type:
hidd --server --search
then push the reset button on the mouse and it will find it and pair.

You can check by doing (as user):
$ hidd --show
xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx Bluetooth HID Boot Protocol Device [046d:b002] connected 
[boot-protocol]
$

Then you only need: 
chkconfig --level 35 hidd on

From now on the mouse just pairs up after the system is booted by moving the
mouse around until it responds.
And it did! Not only that, but it recognised every one of the mouse's buttons and knobs - it comes with a little joystick that acts as a two-dimensional scroll wheel, and when you press down on it it turns into a set of media keys (next track, previous track, volume up and down, pause, stop, and even fast-forward and rewind). All of this worked perfectly - no special programs to run, my other (USB optical) mouse didn't stop working, and I didn't even have to play around with my existing media key settings in the GNOME keyboard shortcuts. OK, I did have to do a bit of looking around to find the exact command I needed - it didn't actually do that step automatically for me - but still to me this compares favourably with having to use one of three different driver programs (which one?) and still hoping that it worked correctly. I've tried using Bluetooth drivers on Windows in the past with not a lot of success - even the Bluetooth hardware in my laptop (which Linux can see and use just fine) is disabled when I enter Windows and I cannot determine why or turn it back on.

Yet another proof that Linux is as current with hardware as any Microsoft offering.

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