Pocket PC Syncing with Evolution in Ubuntu

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If you want to sync your pocketpC in Ubuntu we need to use SynCE and Multisync


The purpose of the SynCE project is to provide a means of communication with a Windows Mobile, or Windows CE, device from a computer running Linux, FreeBSD or a similar operating system.


MultiSync is a free modular program to synchronize calendars, addressbooks and other PIM data between programs on your computer and other computers, mobile devices, PDAs or cell phones. MultiSync works on any Gnome platform, such as Linux.

This is based on syncing my Dell Axim X3i with Evolution, but it should work with IPAQs and other Pocket PCs.

Connect your Pocket PC and type "dmesg" in a shell to see if the ipaq kernel module is loaded. The output might look like the following. Take note of the tty used for the connection.

usb 4-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
ipaq 4-2:1.0: PocketPC PDA converter detected
usb 4-2: PocketPC PDA converter now attached to ttyUSB02)

you can also use "cat /proc/bus/usb/devices" to check for a USB device that's using the ipaq kernel module.

T: Bus=04 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=01 Cnt=01 Dev#= 4 Spd=12 MxCh= 0
D: Ver= 1.01 Cls=ff(vend.) Sub=ff Prot=ff MxPS=16 #Cfgs= 1
P: Vendor=413c ProdID=4002 Rev= 0.00
C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=c0 MxPwr= 2mA
I: If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 2 Cls=ff(vend.) Sub=ff Prot=ff Driver=ipaq
E: Ad=81(I) Atr=02(Bulk) MxPS= 64 Ivl=0ms
E: Ad=02(O) Atr=02(Bulk) MxPS= 64 Ivl=0ms

SynCE Setup and Configuration

Install the required packages for SynCE

sudo apt-get install librra0 librra0-tools librapi2-tools libsynce0 synce-dccm synce-multisync-plugin synce-serial

synce-serial setup will be invoked by apt, follow this through using the default settings, unless you have reason to do otherwise.

local address:
remote address:
no dns entry needed

Perform the following command to tell SynCE where to look. This seems redundant.

sudo synce-serial-config ttyUSB0

Start the SynCE connection daemon by typing "dccm" in a shell. Use "dccm -p password" if your Pocket PC is password protected.

Initiate a serial connection by typing "sudo synce-serial-start" in a shell. You should be greeted with "synce-serial-start is now waiting for your device to connect".

"synce-pstatus" shows a LOT of information about your Pocket PC, such as current mode of operation, battery charge level, memory usage as well as backup battery status. If you want to see some other synce commands, type "dpkg -L librapi2-tools". You can use these commands to do things such as installing Pocket PC programs, etc.

Create the partnership between the Pocket PC and your computer. There are 2 slots on the device, so the INDEX can be 1 or 2.

synce-matchmaker create INDEX

You should see the following message

Partnership creation succeeded. Using partnership index INDEX.

Multisync Setup and Configuration

Install the required packages for Multisync

sudo apt-get install libmultisync-plugin-all multisync

Or, alternatively if you want to skimp on the packages

sudo apt-get install libmultisync-plugin-evolution libmultisync-plugin-backup multisync

Start Multisync by typing "multisync" in a shell. You can also do via Applications > Accessories > Multisync, but the shell gives you a lot of feedback which can be helpful the first time you use it.

Create a new synchronization pair where one of the plugins is "SynCE Plugin" and the other is "Ximian Evolution 2", the order doesn't matter. You may need to create a new Contact List, Task List and Calendar, so that the default ones aren't used. I'm not sure if this is needed, but it was mentioned in the other thread.

Press the "Sync" button.

Initially, You may not have entries in Evolution so for some reason, You need to modify all of the entries on Pocket PC so that the timestamp would register each entry as a ‘change', otherwise no entries were sync'd.

Disconnecting Your Pocket PC

Shutdown Multisync

"killall -HUP dccm" to kill the serial connection.

run "synce-serial-abort", if the above command doesn't work.

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22 Responses

  1. Diazepam says:

    Does this work with Pocket PC 2005 devices?

  2. Dave Field says:

    Orange SPV M600

    sudo synce-serial-start

    Message from syslogd@david-field at Fri May 18 14:49:47 2007 …
    david-field kernel: [ 1109.149770] Oops: 0002 [1] SMP

    Message from syslogd@david-field at Fri May 18 14:49:47 2007 …
    david-field kernel: [ 1109.149770] Oops: 0002 [1] SMP

    Message from syslogd@david-field at Fri May 18 14:49:47 2007 …
    david-field kernel: [ 1109.150089] CR2: 0000000000000048

    Message from syslogd@david-field at Fri May 18 14:49:47 2007 …
    david-field kernel: [ 1109.150089] CR2: 0000000000000048

    Run match make command and get

    synce-matchmaker create 1

    [synce_info_from_file:51] unable to open file: /home/david/.synce/active_connection
    [rapi_context_connect:100] Failed to get connection info
    [main:62] Failed to initialize RAPI

  3. Peter says:

    Hi, 2 quick questions.

    Does anyone know if synce-0.10.0 has been put into a package yet?
    and does 0.10.0 work with device that have the

    D: Ver= 2.00 Cls=ef(unk. ) Sub=01 Prot=01 MxPS= 8 #Cfgs= 1

    Line in there device info?

    These devices have never worked with Synce.

  4. Ubermeschx says:

    I did this and it worked on my Dell Axim running Pocket PC 2003 version 4.20.1081 (Build 13100). i did need to go to the Synce Website (http://synce.sourceforge.net/synce/multisync.php) in order to create replace a partnership.

    good luck.

  5. strelock says:

    I have a strange problem – everything works fine but only once for synchronization pair. Second time multisync returns: Failed to get first plugin change: Unknown error.

    First plugin is Ximian. Do you have any suggestions?

  6. Momist says:

    Thanks – this worked very well for me on a very new standard Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10), to synchronise a Medion MDPPC250. Note: I had not set up anything in Evolution, and at first nothing synchronised. I then found that in the Ximan Evolution 2 pair there is an ‘Options’ button that allowed me to set the ‘Personal’ file to be synchronised. MultiSync Options has a ‘Show “Resync” button’ that then lets you synchronise all entries, whether flagged as synchronised or not. The pairing works both ways for me so far.
    Thanks again!

  7. Steve says:

    I’ve tried this method and when I get to this step
    “sudo synce-serial-config ttyUSB0”

    I get an error that the port is not there. It tells me to check the config help file, and when I do it says that I need toi configure Synce with either a Serial port or an infrared port. Any help?

  8. dan says:

    hi. i have an i-mate jam (windows mobile 2003 se). i followed all the instruction but when it got to the part of making a partnership, i got this message:

    dan@Ace:~$ synce-matchmaker create INDEX
    [rra_matchmaker_create_partnership:380] Partnership not found and there are no empty partner slots on device.
    Partnership creation failed. Maybe there is no empty partnership slot?

    i couldn’t sync.
    i’m a nube and i’m lost. 🙂

  9. RyLoS says:

    If you don’t have empty partner slots use this command ‘synce-matchmaker replace INDEX’.

    Note the replace command instead of create.

    Good luck.

  10. ampul says:

    Worked nicely on hardy with my acer n35.

    Thanks a lot.

  11. Denis Walrave says:

    I is somewhat working for me (Hardy + Qtek Pocket PC 2003). But:
    * Only one synchronization possible (Failed to get first plugin change: Unknown error.): Work around delete the pair and recreate it at each connection.
    * The tasks are dupplicating themselves at each synchronization.


  12. Denis Walrave says:

    After some more use, I can see that dual sync (One with a PC at work / Outlook and one with Ubuntu / Evolution at home) leads to a lot of duplicates in contacts / tasks / agenda entries and the creation of many unreadable agenda items from the PC/Outlook synchronization side. Those items are in your Pocket PC but cannot synchronize in Outlook.

    I would not recommend this solution for dual-sync in this version, except for a one-time synchronization.


  13. Crasher35 says:

    I’m having a weird problem. For everything that I try to do it tells me “unable to resolve host Crasher” which is the name of my laptop. Pretty much at every step of the process…

    Here’s a copy of my terminal window so that you can see and maybe help. Thanks.

    omar@Crasher:~$ sudo synce-serial-config ttyUSB0
    sudo: unable to resolve host Crasher

    You can now run synce-serial-start to start a serial connection.

    omar@Crasher:~$ dccm
    omar@Crasher:~$ sudo synce-serial-start
    sudo: unable to resolve host Crasher
    kill: 15: No such process

    synce-serial-start is now waiting for your device to connect

    omar@Crasher:~$ synce-pstatus
    synce-pstatus: Could not find configuration at path '(Default)'
    omar@Crasher:~$ synce-matchmaker replacey INDEX 1
    The purpose of this program is to manage partnerships with the currently
    connected device.

    synce-matchmaker [status|create|replace INDEX]

    status Show partnership status for device
    create Create partnership with device
    replace Replace partnership on device
    INDEX The partnership index (1 or 2)
    omar@Crasher:~$ synce-matchmaker status INDEX 1
    [synce_info_from_file:51] unable to open file: /home/omar/.synce/active_connection
    [rapi_context_connect:100] Failed to get connection info
    [main:62] Failed to initialize RAPI
    omar@Crasher:~$ synce-matchmaker replace INDEX 1
    [synce_info_from_file:51] unable to open file: /home/omar/.synce/active_connection
    [rapi_context_connect:100] Failed to get connection info
    [main:62] Failed to initialize RAPI

  14. Ricardo says:

    It doesn’t work for me. When I plug the PDA, it appears in my network connection and it’s not recognized as ttyUSB0 but as eth1 and blows my internet connection, I have to change it manually. I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried with two PDAs an Axim X51 and an ipaq hx2400, both with WM5. If someone have a clue please tell me. Thanks.

  15. Ricardo says:

    I work with ubuntu hardy.

  16. It’s work for me, Ubuntu Hardy.

    when create partnership with pocket PC, only 2 partnership is permitted. I must replace existing partnership first with “synce-matchmaker replace 2” and then create new parnetship with “synce-matchmaker create 2”.
    My PPC is HP iPaq 6515.


  17. Will says:

    I was with you all the way.

    Right up till this line “Start the SynCE connection daemon by typing “dccm” in a shell”

    Now i’ll happily admit to being completely computer illiterate, and please excuse my French, but, what the fu*k is a shell ???, where do i find one and how do i type anything into it ?

    All i want is to not have to use that heap of junk that is M$ Outlook (after discovering it wanted to keep 75% of my emails a secret). And i thought connecting my ppc up to linux and thunderbird would be the best way to avoid using any M$ related products. But, all this sudo linux stuff is way way beyond me, why can’t it be easier to use ?

    I’m using Linux Mint, and that has a software manager that automatically downloads and installs all this stuff for you, which i’ve done. But i’ll be buggered if i can find the programme anywhere on my blessed computer.

    Why can’t it be simpler, please..

    /end of rant, thank you.

    Any advice ? anyone ?

  18. Will says:

    Don’t bother, i’ve figured out what a shell is and where to type dccm and the rest.

    Not quite figured out how to get a Hotmail and a Yahoo account into Evolution yet, but i’m a working on it.

  19. bert says:

    You can’t sync Evolution against Pocket Outlook on your mobile device while you get this error “Failed to get first plugin change: Unknown error” then try this:

    1.In Evolution purge the calendar.ics to lets say events older as 60 days. With this step you prevent a hack of a job in inspecting more then necessary appointments/events in step 2
    2.To force synching again remove the synching *.db file under .evolution (turn on Hidden Files in Nautilus browser which is standard present in Ubuntu). Then start Multisync in the commandline/terminal window which will give a detailed result of the synching process. Those entries creating errors you remove out of calendar.ics preferable manually with gedit (standaard present in Ubuntu)This is all between the tags BEGIN:VEVENT and END:VEVENT. If you take the easy way using Evolution it self for deletion you risk that broken parts of the corrupt entry still remain in the calendat.ics which might result again in blocking a proper sync process (with Sync) resulting in the error “Failed to get first plugin change: Unknown error” when inspecting the log of Multisync. Continue with step 2 until the Resync happens without errors.
    3.Bring in the corrupt found appointments/events in step 2 with Evolution it self. Remove in your mobile device all entries with (a trial version of) Pocket Informant.
    4.Test your cleaned calendar .ics by synching this time with Sync (so not Resync) in Multisync. This should lead to a problem free synching process.

    If you want more background information about this follow the button clicks “Ticket Kopen”, iDeal of my homepage http://rits.tk (or if rits.tk doesn’t work try http://rits.freehostia.com)

    Hope this will give everyone a suitable workaround

  20. Daniel Kronengold says:

    I am not able to do this stage in your (otherwise helpful) instructions:

    “Create a new synchronization pair where one of the plugins is “SynCE Plugin” and the other is “Ximian Evolution 2?, the order doesn’t matter. You may need to create a new Contact List, Task List and Calendar, so that the default ones aren’t used. I’m not sure if this is needed, but it was mentioned in the other thread.”

    The Pocket PC was able to connect to my Ubuntu system, and the Multisync GUI opens when I type “multisync” into the command line, but I’m not able to create a syncronization pair. There are the a drop down choice boxes (with a downward arrow next
    to them) next to “First plugin” and “Second plugin,” but nothing appears when I click on the boxes or the downward arrow. There isn’t even a cursor appearing in the boxes so I can type the sync pair names (“SynCE Plugin” and “Ximian Evolution 2?) manually. Help!

  21. Melody says:

    After I enter in “dccm” this is what shows up in my terminal…I have no idea what it means.

    melody@melody-laptop:~$ sudo synce-serial-start
    [sudo] password for melody:

    synce-serial-start is now waiting for your device to connect

    melody@melody-laptop:~$ synce-matchmaker create INDEX
    [synce_info_from_file:51] unable to open file: /home/melody/.synce/active_connection
    [rapi_context_connect:100] Failed to get connection info
    [main:62] Failed to initialize RAPI

    Any suggestions? I’d like to get my Axim synced with my computer if possible so that it’s not just sitting there gathering dust.

  22. momist says:

    Does anyone know how to copy files from a PocketPC on Jaunty? I don’t need sync, but I do want to back up some of my files this way.

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