Top critical review
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Linux compatible... but only just
on 11 April 2013
I bought this product specifically because I needed GNU/Linux compatibility, but I was not happy with what I found. I have since returned the product (thanks Amazon.co.uk), so the following has been written in retrospect in order to inform others.
I use Kubuntu Linux 12.04 amd64 running the 3.2.0-38 kernel. When the adapter is plugged in, it enabled me to transfer files between my phone and my PC 'out-of-the-box' with no further configuration. However I was not able to use any advanced Bluetooth features such as sharing my phone's internet connection with my PC.
In Windows XP, all the functions are available. (However I had to install the adapter's own Bluetooth management programme as well as the drivers; it does not use Windows XP's own Bluetooth management options, which is a shame.)
Further inspection of the problem revealed that this Bluetooth adapter is based on a Broadcom chipset. The device ID:vendor ID is 0a5c:21e8. I noticed in the output of dmesg that the device required firmware:
[ 16.069102] Bluetooth: can't load firmware, may not work correctly
A quick search led me to this Launchpad page:
It elaborates that some users are having difficulty in uploading firmware to newer Broadcom devices. This was my experience too. Perhaps newer kernels are able to successfully upload the firmware, but I was not on my version (see earlier).
During my attempts to upload firmware, I figured out (by browsing through one of the .INF files that Windows uses to install the driver) that the required firmware file's name is:
You will need the HEX2HCD utility to process it into a form that the Linux firmware loader can use. (I successfully produced a .hcd file, but I couldn't load the firmware on my setup unfortunately.)
I hope that the above helps someone in making their decision to buy, or getting it working after buying it. It seemed to work, but it doesn't integrate well with Windows XP's own bluetooth management, nor did all of the functions work in Linux 'out-of-the-box'. Thus I give this product a decidedly unremarkable 3 stars.