BlackBerry PlayBook and Ubuntu Linux - HOWTO with Screenshots

Here's a simple way to copy files to and from your BlackBerry PlayBook when you're using Ubuntu. This should work with any form of Linux.

This is a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots.

On The PlayBook

Plug your PlayBook into your Linux computer using a USB cable. You may see this screen (or similar) you can dismiss it.
PlayBook Windows or Mac

In the Settings menu, scroll down to "Storage & Sharing".

Ensure that the "USB Connections" is set to "Connect to Windows".
PlayBook file sharing setup

Scroll down and make sure that "File Sharing" is set to "ON".
PlayBook file sharing

Finally, still in settings, scroll up the left panel to "About" and select "Network"
PlayBook usb file sharing ip
Make a note of the USB IPv4 Address (in this image it is 169.254.144.217).

On Ubuntu

Open a terminal and type

sudo ifconfig -a

You may be prompted to enter your password.

Scroll through the results and you should see an entry of "usb0".
PlayBook Ubuntu USB

To connect to the PlayBook, click on "Places" then "Connect to server".

Select the server type to be "Windows Share". Enter the IP address of the PlayBook (found from the PlayBook's About menu).
PlayBook connect to USB server

If all has gone well, you should see this screen:
PlayBook connect to Ubuntu

Click on "media" and you'll have access to all of your PlayBook's storage space.
PlayBook connected to Ubuntu

That's It!

You should now be able to copy files back and forth. Unlike a normal USB disk, you don't need to eject or unmount the drive once you've finished copying files to the device.
Note - when you disconnect the USB cable and reconnect it, the IP address may change. You will need to go to the PlayBook's network settings to find the new IP address. I can't find a way to get a static IP. If you know how - or have any other questions - please leave a comment.

Update

You can set a static IP by turning on Development mode, or follow these instructions from Jarviser on the BlackBerry Support Forums

Forget the IP address, use Tablet Network Name which will always be the same...

In Storage and Sharing, after selecting Connect to Windows, touch Properties button.

You will find

Tablet Network Name - Use that instead of IP Address in Ubuntu. (Mine says PLAYBOOK-24B6)

You will then be asked for Username and Password, Mine is "playbook" and the playbook's sharing password. WORKGROUP is left unchanged.


11 Responses to “BlackBerry PlayBook and Ubuntu Linux - HOWTO with Screenshots”

  1. Ferran Image of Ferran

    Can you help me, this doesn't work for me.
    I have on the box a Debian Squeeze.
    The results of lsusb comman are:

    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0fca:8012 Research In Motion, Ltd.
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    ifconfig -a (As a root user)

    usb0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr a2:6c:ec:9f:2e:91
    BROADCAST MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
    RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
    RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
    When I try to connect I get an error message more or less I can translate it as "Could'n recover the list of shared items from the server".

    Do I have to install or configure any package ?
    I have installed:
    gnome-system-tools
    libsmbclient
    libwbclient0
    samba-common
    samba-common-bin
    smbclient
    cifs-utils

    But I don't know what file do I have to configure.

    Tanks

    Reply
  2. Magalaan Image of Magalaan

    I can't get it to work. When i click connect it says check user data. En when I say continue. It say connecting and then It keeps on saying it can not get a list of shared folders from the server.

    Both playbook and Ubuntu say they are connected. Shared is on. I use ubuntu 12.04. I tried both IP and tablet networkname.

    Reply
  3. bonny Image of bonny

    Hey...thanks...it worked.....i was stucked in the USERNAME and PASSWRD step at the last.By putting multiple wrong passwords i was asked for the KEYRING passwrd set...then that was the new passwrd set by me...and it was done..!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. aldqueiroz Image of aldqueiroz

    It didn't work to me; I've followed all steps described, identified Ipv4 number of my PlayBook when connected thru USB, and used that address to create a remote folder into my lan, but Dolphin (Mageia's default file manager) failed on connecting the so called 'remote server' (identified as "smb://169.254.0.4", in my case...); neither the WiFi connection, nor using Tablet Network Name worked, again the remote server didn't reply... What did I do wrong?...
    Another question: why to run bash command "ifconfig -a" ? I suppose I should use some info replied, but such detail is'nt explained in this tutorial...

    Reply
    • Terence Eden Image of Terence Eden

      Hi,
      ifconfig -a shows you you're computer's IP address. In this case, you're looking to see if there's a USB section which would indicate you're connected properly.

      Reply
      • aldqueiroz Image of aldqueiroz

        I've found the problem... Only one missing configuration at Settings of my Playbook! 'Sharing Files' was OFF! I switched to ON , and finally got access to the tablet, been able to copy lots of files (hundreds of pictures my husband took!) thru wi-fi. I didn't try USB connection, although.
        I may return after to setting of my router and bind PlayBook IP address, in order to prevent have to change its IP number whenever it reconnect through wi-fi!
        (Just one little errata: Dolphin is the default file manager of KDE, not Mageia, which features others Desktop Environment options, such as Gnome, LXDE, etc! I myself, still prefer to use KDE (by now...), besides it might be heavier than other DE options..!)

        Cheers!

        Reply

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