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I'm having problems connecting my Lumia 532 phone (Windows phone 8.1) to Lubuntu 14.10 (on my HP-Pavilion-dv6000-RZ901PA-ACJ Laptop). When plugging the USB cable, the device does not shows up on the desktop (there must be a camera icon with the name of the phone), it not seems to be detected correctly.

I have also access to Ubuntu 12.04 (on my Desktop PC). The phone works fine with that. Double clicking it's icon displays the folder structure inside the phone and I can access my files on the phone.

Any advice how to get the phone working with Lubuntu 14.10. Where to start troubleshooting?

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Great, so you’re a Linuxer and got a Windows Phone. Congratulations. :)

Anyway … before we get to the point, here’s some background on USB: When you create a USB connection, the hardware will first “negotiate” the relationship between the device (your phone) and the host (your laptop).

USB defines various classes for devices. The Linux kernel ships modules to support many of them. Android devices for example usually have the ability to announce themselves as mass storage devices and can be mounted in the same way as a USB drive.

However, the module supporting the USB class has to be loaded (which is done automatically in *Ubuntu), and the device is expect to behave according to the specification – which many devices don’t.

Now, to answer your question: You would start debugging by looking what happens after you attach the device to the host machine. To do so, open a console and enter

sudo tail -f /var/log/kern.log

Then plug in your phone. You should see something like the following output:

Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810865.949958] usb 1-1: new high-speed USB device number 22 using xhci_hcd
Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810866.079025] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=04e8, idProduct=6860
Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810866.079028] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=3, SerialNumber=4
Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810866.079030] usb 1-1: Product: Android
Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810866.079031] usb 1-1: Manufacturer: Samsung
Jul 28 22:45:17 tp kernel: [810866.079032] usb 1-1: SerialNumber: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Now check the details of the USB device with lsusb.

lsusb -vd vendor:product | grep -i class

The vendor and product placeholders must be filled with the four-digit hex codes from the above /var/log/kern.log output.

This command will give your a list of USB “subinterfaces” that your phone exposes to your laptop, for example:

# sudo lsusb -vd 04e8:6860 | grep -i class
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0 
      bInterfaceClass         6 Imaging
      bInterfaceSubClass      1 Still Image Capture
      bInterfaceClass         6 Imaging
      bInterfaceSubClass      1 Still Image Capture
      bFunctionClass          2 Communications
      bFunctionSubClass       2 Abstract (modem)
      bInterfaceClass         2 Communications
      bInterfaceSubClass      2 Abstract (modem)
      bInterfaceClass        10 CDC Data
      bInterfaceSubClass      0 Unused
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0 

This is a lot of gibberish (and even more if you read the entire output instead of greping for the USB classes), but it shows that the device implements class 06 – which usually means that the phone will be able to transfer images through the PTP/MTP protocol. *

Other devices will show a 08 class, in which case you should see a device node like /dev/sdxX which you can mount. (Check the node’s details with file -s /dev/sdxX before mounting.)

Long story short, while you will most likely not get mass storage support with a Windows device, you have a good chance that your phone will support MTP, especially as MTP is a brain child of Microsoft.

There are a couple of applications for Ubuntu that understand MTP so might want to install one of them and try accessing your phone’s storage. I personally like the Konqueror file manager very much and have made a flawless experience with its MTP integration.


* To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that this is factually correct, so feel free to correct me, anyone.

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