Sync Palm with Evolution

I was unsatisfied with the official Ubuntu wiki on Palm sync’ing as it resulted in a error. Thus, here is my HowTo.

This is how I got my disappointing Palm m125 to sync with Ubuntu Warty and Hoary. Do this at your own risk and responsibility. I do NOT take responsibility for any negative results, such as losing information or your palm blowing up.

Open evolution and just get thru the initial palm set up which never works for me. Just get through it. Don’t worry about accuracy or whether the ‘test’ can detect your Palm. You’ll fix these things latter.

Tools/Pilot Settings/Conduits

and enable:

and set to Synchronize:
Memo File?

And whatever else you might want or how you might want it.

In the ‘Pilot Settings’ dialogue box, under the ‘Devices’ tab, make sure there is a cradle listing for /dev/ttyUSB1 (or /dev/ttyUSB2) at the speed of 57600 type USB.

Your should be almost ready to go as address book (Contacts), calendar (including appointments), Tasks (ToDOs) should syncs fine now. In fact, I find it faster and more reliable by en large than the proprietary software on OS X, most definitely faster than Apple’s sync’ing to iCalendar.

To sync, open evolution and open
Tools/Pilot Settings/Conduits
then close if you like.

Voilà, palm should sync now.

The only catch is installing files from desktop computer to the Palm via the USB cradle; It doesn’t install Palm apps when sync’ing despite enabling the ‘Backup’ and ‘File’ evolution conduits. (It’ll sync ‘ordinary’ files that are customarily sync’d. [such as text and database files]) Thanks to pilot-xfer, you can manually install apps.

Make sure you have pilot-xfer, apt-get it.

To install a file:
hit the cradle sync button

and use the following syntax (have it ready):

pilot-xfer -p /dev/ttyUSB1 -i PATH/TO/FILE/YOU/WANT/TO/INSTALL

It should sync installing files to palm unit.

The ‘-p’ is the port you’re sync’ing via. The default to install via is /dev/pilot thus you have to specify /dev/ttyUSB1 (or … USB2) for USB cradles. After you know that it sync to either … USB1 or … USB2, symlinking might allow you to get away without specifying ‘-p /dev/ttyUSB1’. I haven’t tried this but this symlink creation should be accomplished with

ln -s /dev/pilot /dev/ttyUSB1

(use sudo if necessary)

by Maurice Cepeda
a.k.a. Chascon

PS-I believe the official Ubuntu wiki recommends using J-Pilot but following those instructions gave me a, ‘Palm has NULL user ID .. Use restore from menu or use pilot-xfer’ error. Gpilot did not fare any better for me.

gpilot-install-file /PATH/TO/FILE/TO/INSTALL

gave me (on Warty):

“Following file failed:
Install To My Pilot
No files to install”

Another error you might get (on Hoary) is:

“The device /dev/ttyUSB1 does not exist..
Possible solution:
mknod /dev/ttyUSB1 c <major> <minor>
Unable to bind to port: /dev/ttyUSB1
Please use –help for more information

Solution: Use pilot-xfer to install apps/files as recommended above.

If you’re trying to get sync’ed data back onto the Palm when you’ve cleared Palm (ie., ran out of battery power), just adjust conduits to ‘backup’ rather than ‘sync’ (and then back again after a successful operation). (Evolution syncs fine for me, except for sync’ing to an empty palm and for installing apps.)

There is the odd time when the above does not work and you have to reboot. In these occasions “killall gpilotd” doesn’t help, so I think the problem might be with Evolution itself but haven’t figured it out. In these cases, attempting to force with pilot-xfer doesn’t help either, ie.,

pilot-xfer -p /dev/ttyUSB1 –restore /home/USER/MyPilot

to copy from computer to palm.

Update (July 29, 2005):
I’ve confirmed that Evolution palm sync’ing is broken (at least) on Hoary-PPC ‘stable’. I’ll have deeper look to find a work around, time permitting. For now this document can be a source of reference for those that want to build on it. I’ll post back if I figure out a fix. Apparently J-Pilot works on PPC now.

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