How to set up IrDA (infrared) data transfer on Ubuntu

Many mobile phones in Japan come equipped with IrDA ports which allow for data transfer with other IrDA enabled devices. It's a cheap and easy way to send contact details from one phone to another, or to transfer content from your phone to your computer, and it's a lot easier to set up on Linux than I had expected.px.gif

  1. First, install the necessary software packages irda-utils and ircp-tray. You can do this through Synaptic or by opening up a terminal and typing: sudo apt-get install irda-utils ircp-tray
  2. Now run: gksu gedit /etc/default/irda-utils In the configuration file which opens up, change the line reading DEVICE="/dev/ttyS1" to DEVICE="irda0" and the line reading SETSERIAL="" to SETSERIAL="/dev/ttyS1"
  3. Now run: sudo /etc/init.d/irda-utils stop sudo /etc/init.d/irda-utils start
  4. Connect your IrDA dongle and run: sudo irattach irda0 -s
  5. Now start the IrDA manager by running: ircp-tray
  6. Try sending a file from your phone to your computer. Make sure you put your mobile phone close to the IrDA receiver on your computer, so that line of sight is guaranteed. Ircp-tray will pop up and ask you where you want to save your file.

This has been tested on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) and 10.10 (Maverick) with a SigmaTel IrDA dongle (“SigmaTel STIr4200”, according to dmesg) and a SoftBank Samsung 730SC mobile phone. Unfortunately, ircp-tray wouldn't let me save files to a folder other than my home folder. Also, trying to transfer more than one file at once would result in a “segmentation fault”. But this may be related to my mobile phone, and not necessarily the software. If you know a fix or a workaround for this, please let me know in the comments section below!