Web Bluetooth on Linux

First, you should type bluetoothd --version in the terminal, and see which version of Bluez you have - then follow the correct set of instructions below:

Bluez >= 5.41: Ubuntu 16.10 and newer

Bluetooth may work out of the box - try following the Web Bluetooth getting started code and see if it works.

However, on Bluez 5.41 you still need to enable the Experimental flags. Edit the Bluetooth config and add the experimental flag there:

sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/bluetooth.service

And update the line:


so it reads:

ExecStart=/usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd --experimental

Save and exit. Then reload Bluez.

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart bluetooth

(Originally from Adafruit)

Bluez < 5.41: Ubuntu 16.04, Mint 18 and older

Note: Alan Assis worked this out and documented it here. All I've done is tweak it slightly to use a newer bluez (and to modify things that didn't work for me)

Note 2: Ubuntu 16.10 comes with bluez 5.41 already, but the experimental interface flag is needed for this version. This means you'll have to build it again with the appropriate flag.

As of writing, Ubuntu 16.04 comes with version 5.37 of bluez, the Bluetooth tools. While this provides some Bluetooth functionality, it's not very good at exposing it. As a result, for Web Bluetooth on Chrome to work, you need to update your bluez version to a newer version, which exposes functionality in a way that Chrome can access without needing special permissions.

# Install the dependecies:
sudo apt-get -y install automake autotools-dev bison check clang flex lcov libcap-ng-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libdw-dev libglib2.0-dev libical-dev libreadline-dev libtool libudev-dev

# create temp directory
mkdir tmp
cd tmp

# Download new bluez
wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/bluetooth/bluez-5.43.tar.xz

# Extract it:
tar xvf bluez-5.43.tar.xz

# Configure and compile it:
cd bluez-5.43
./configure --prefix=/usr           \
            --mandir=/usr/share/man \
            --sysconfdir=/etc       \
            --localstatedir=/var    \
            --enable-library        \
            --disable-systemd       \

# install everything
sudo make install

# Stop existing bluetooth and start a new one
sudo /etc/init.d/bluetooth stop
sudo /usr/libexec/bluetooth/bluetoothd

Now you can test Web Bluetooth out in Chrome (make sure you enable it in chrome://flags first!). Maybe give the Web IDE a go: https://www.espruino.com/ide

If that all works, we want to make sure it runs properly after a reboot.

Ctrl-C to stop the existing bluetoothd.

# Replace the old bluetoothd with the new one:
sudo cp /usr/libexec/bluetooth/bluetoothd /usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd

Now you can re-start the service and you're good to go!

sudo /etc/init.d/bluetooth start

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