Following the release of the new 9.10 ‘Karmic Koala’ version of Ubuntu, we installed it on one of the Asus 901s, trying out a new configuration of all ext4 disk partitions and no swap partition. Discovering that the ‘Netbook Remix’ (UNR) release of the operating system now could only use the mobile phone look-alike interface and had the Desktop-Switcher package removed, we followed forum advice and tried the full Ubuntu 9.10 release instead. Having disabled the ‘wobbly windows’ graphics enhancements in Gnome, Ubuntu 9.10 was no trouble on the Asus 901 – all the devices worked from the start, dialogue and menu boxes fitted in the available screen area by default. One of the main reasons for trying Ubuntu 9.10 was to experiment with an early desire of ERA to use the bluetooth audio headsets commonly available for mobile phones instead of wired mic-and-headphones devices. With our Ubuntu 9.04 UNR installations we couldn’t get this to work, despite spending a frustrating day or two in early July with the latest software then available. At that time, improved bluetooth interaction with beta Pulseaudio releases and experimental device control with Blueman were not integrated into Ubuntu releases, but promised to make bluetooth audio as simple under Ubuntu as it is on a mobile phone.
Now with 9.10 installed, we found some important improvements that didn’t make the front page; Asterisk 1.6 now uses DAHDI instead of zaptel for it’s timing device, and as a result MeetMe and IAX should function without further fuss. The Gnome-bluetooth application that is installed by default doesn’t seem to find the Nokia BH-102 headset, despite finding other bluetooth devices, displays limited device imformation and lacks advanced features, so it’s time for Blueman. Blueman is sadly not available from the Ubuntu package manager, but adding Personal Package Archives is now easier from the command line than it was, although the instructions on this page didn’t quite work – replacing the line sudo apt-get reload with sudo apt-get update works better. Once Blueman was installed, we restarted Ubuntu and set Blueman searching for devices before powering up the Nokia headset, which was quickly found and paired (using the key 0000 ). The Volume Control panel applet now allows us to use the newly discovered bluetooth headset as an audio device for both input and output (in mono only) and set the audio levels for no-strings voice communication.