Posted by khk

Linux/IrDA Support

Having just installed the PalmIII upgrade in my PalmPilot Professional, it’s pretty clear that I want the Sony notebook talk to my new toy…

With the new 2.2.x kernels this is no problem, they already come with the IrDA drivers in the standard source tree. No need to patch the kernel sources anymore (at least if you don’t want to run the latest and greatest, or for that matter the version with less bugs :-).

I used the following settings in my kernel configuration:

# IrDA subsystem support
# CONFIG_IRDA_FAST_RR is not set

# Infrared-port device drivers

Once the kernel is [patched,] compiled and installed (and of course booted) the only thing left to do is to configure the IrDA utilities:

The configuration of the IrDA package is very much like configuring the PCMCIA sub system. So once you’ve figured out how to get your network card to work this one is easy…

BIOS Configuration

OK, maybe it’s not that easy, there are some things which need to be done in the BIOS configuration so that the IrDA drivers can work with the hardware. I’ve used the following settings in the BIOS settings:

IrDA Configuration:  [Enabled]
IR Base I/O address:  [3E8]
Interrupt:    [IRQ 10]
Mode:      [IrDA]

To get into the BIOS configuration you have to press the F2 key while the SONY logo is displayed during bootup of the machine. After the main BIOS display is up go to Advanced>IrDA.

IrDA Configuration

The file /etc/irda/drivers needs to be configured in order to “know” which serial port the IrDA subsystem is supposed to use. In addition to that the modules configuration file (/etc/config.modules) needs two more lines so that requests from the kernel can be translated into module load instructions. Add these two lines to the file:

alias tty-ldisc-11     irtty
alias char-major-60    ircomm_tty

Starting the Whole Thing

To get the IrDA subsystem started you only have to run /usr/sbin/irmanager as root user. This program will load everything that’s required for connecting the PalmIII to the Sony machine.

… almost everything …
To “beam” files from or to the Pilot you need the program irobex_palm3. This is part of the irda_utils package, but at least in my version of the package needed to be compiled seperately from the rest. Just cd into the irobex directory and do a “make install”.

To beam files from the Pilot start irobex_palm3 without arguments. It will write all received files into the /tmp directory. To send files from the notebook to the Pilot start irobex_palm3 with the filename of the file to send as parameter.


That’s not all, you can do more with IrDA/Linux, the 505FX and your PalmIII device. So far I have installed the IrLINK software and established a test connection between my two devices. But I have not done any “real work” with this the IrCOMM protocol. Stay tuned and watch this space for updates.