Syncing Palm's with Solaris via USB

Way back when, in the days when I had a nice Palm III, I did a bunch of syncing with my CDE calendar using Pilot Manager (at least that's what I think it was called). It eventually morphed into PDASync, which can still be found in Solaris 10.

The problem was though that it required you to be attached via a serial port. When I got my Palm m505 after my Palm III experienced a sudden stop on the floor one day, life was still good because I bought a serial cradle to go with it. When I recently retired my m505 and got a Tungsten E2 to replace it, I didn't get the serial cradle to go with it. Instead, I started to use the built-in bluetooth interface to sync it with my Mac mini.

That of course, was fine until I realized that I had no way to get my Mac to talk to Sun's EdgeCal (which is our calendar server that is accessable from the internet.) iCal on the Mac isn't designed to talk to a server and the Palm Desktop doesn't talk to a calendar server. To top it off, even if I did get a serial cradle for my Tungsten, PDASync won't talk to EdgeCal.

So I was in a bind. I couldn't use the USB interface on the Tungsten to talk to Solaris. I couldn't use the software for the Mac to talk to EdgeCal and a serial cradle wouldn't buy my anything either. Not good.

Enter Solaris 10 06/06 (Update 2). It has the necessary glue to talk to the Palms via USB. This glue is provided via the SUNWpltlk (pilot-link - Palm Handheld Glue), SUNWgnome-pilot (PalmPilot Link Utilities), and the ugen driver in the SUNWugen (USB Generic Driver) and Evolution.

I suppose that you could just pkgadd the packages to a Solaris 10 install prior to Update 2, but its much easier to just upgrade to Update 2. Plus you'd get ZFS as a bonus.

To start with, configure Evolution (Located in the Java Desktop under "Launch" -> "Applications" -> "Internet" -> "Email and Calendar") to talk to your calendar server or just use your local files.

Also, with Evolution, you'll need to set your default folder to point to your Calendar, otherwise the Palm will always sync with the locally stored calendar. You can set this in Evolution by going to "Tools" -> "Settings" -> "Folder Settings" -> "Default Folders" and selecting the correct entry from "Calendar."

Next, you'll need to change the properties of the ugen driver so that an unprivledged user can read and write to the Palm device. By default, all ugen device entries that are generated have permissions of 0644. Without changing these to 0666, I've only been able to get root to talk to the Palm. So, become root and invoke the following:

# update_drv -a -m '\* 0666 root sys' ugen

Now, changing the permissions to rw for everyone, could be a security risk, so use your best judgement. If there is a better way of accomplishing this, I'd like to know.

From that point, all you need to do is, from Evolution, click on "Tools" -> "Pilot Settings" and follow instructions there.

From there on out, you should be in sync. :)

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About

Phil is an Area Technical Engineer in the Central Area of Oracle's Field Service in North America. He has 15 years of experience supporting Sun's entire product line.

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