A100 to Ubuntu File Transfer

The functionality of Android – or sometimes the lack of it – continues to surprise me. Since Android is essentially a Linux device I find it unbelievable that file transfer between the Acer Iconia A100 tablet and a PC is a breeze for Windows yet is fraught with difficulty under Linux.

The A100 tablet has a micro-USB port and comes with a cable to connect this to a regular USB port on a PC. Under Windows 7 the tablet is automatically recognized as a USB device, the appropriate drivers are loaded, and the tablet essentially looks like an external disk drive such that files can be readily transferred between the machines using Windows Explorer.

Regrettably, the situation is not so simple when connecting to a Linux box. The A100 doesn’t auto-mount and, consequently, no file structure for the device is displayed in Nautilus.

The primary workaround indicated on the Acer Tablet Forum involves a whole series of somewhat complicated steps, including disabling USB debugging on the tablet, installing the mtpfs (Media Transfer Protocol) package in Ubuntu, creating a udev rules file, modifying the file system table, and adding the user to the fuse group. The trouble was after carefully following all of the posted instructions, my table still failed to connect giving me the error message “Transport endpoint is not connected”.

A subsequent entry in the forum post indicated that “the driver on 10.04 is not working correctly”; however, the “fix” (involving a Debian package) didn’t work, and left me with a broken mtpfs package. At this point I had great empathy with another forum entry that said “This is just causing me too much grief and wasting hours of my time.” Things were going so badly for me too that I reversed all of the “fixes” and brought my system back to its original state.

More searching on the web identified a utility that allows wireless file transfers using FTP. In a post on StackExchange’s Android Enthusiasts, Kiran indicated that: “The best hassle free way to transfer files between Ubuntu and your device is by using and ftp client like FileZilla on Ubuntu and Software Data Cable for your android device. You can then transfer files via FTP.”

With Software Data Cable installed on the tablet, life suddenly got a whole bunch brighter. Running the program, and pressing the Start Service button displayed an IP address and port number (ftp://192.168.0.197:8888/) that had been assigned by my wireless network’s DHCP server.

Then it was simply a matter of running FileZilla, my favourite FTP client, on the Ubuntu PC and connecting to this address. The root directory of my tablet was instantly displayed in the right-hand FileZilla window, with the file system for the Ubuntu machine being displayed in the left-hand window, and two-way file transfer between the machines being readily available.

Software Data Cable – what a great little app!

References:

Connecting via USB to Linux (Ubuntu)
http://www.acertabletforum.com/forum/acer-iconia-tab-general-discussions/129-connecting-via-usb-linux-ubuntu.html

Honeycomb, MTP and Linux | soledad penadés
http://soledadpenades.com/2011/06/12/honeycomb-mtp-and-linux/

Can’t transfer file from Ubuntu to Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1
http://android.stackexchange.com/questions/18403/cant-transfer-file-from-ubuntu-to-samsung-galaxy-tab-10-1

Software Data Cable (for Android)
http://nerd00.blogspot.ca/2012/02/software-data-cable-for-android.html

Software Data Cable (for Android)
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399673,00.asp

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6 Responses to A100 to Ubuntu File Transfer

  1. James says:

    best post ever…thx you so much. i have had my acer a100 for about 9 mths, first post that made it so ez…..thx again

    • Alan German says:

      James:

      Glad to be of assistance. The only minor issue I have experienced with Software Data Cable is that sometimes the last digit of the assigned IP address is changed so that, when this occurs, I have to modify the ftp address entered in Filzilla “on the fly”.

      Alan

  2. I have the same issue, Alan. This method is great overall. It even allows me to create an entry in fstab and easily mount the phone’s FTP address as part of the file system whenever needed. However, because that one digit occasionally changes, I have to occasionally change the fstab entry. I’m not very good with Linux so I haven’t found a way to make the entry more dynamic and “grab” the correct address each time, without also having to enter my password each time. Either way, it sure beats messing with the USB cable difficulties.

    • Alan German says:

      Brigitte:

      My workaround to the single-digit issue is to store the FTP connection in the Filezilla FTP client. The host address is shown in the Site Manager listing so I just change the final digit (if necessary) and press the Connect button. It’s not a very sophisticated solution, but it is certainly quick. I don’t need to transfer files very often, and I don’t always need to change the address, so it’s a “good-enough” solution for my purpose.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Alan

  3. Ant says:

    Android can use ES file explorer “app” then you can add a lan Source inside ES> Install and enable Samba.

    Done

  4. SteveinNJ says:

    If both your ubuntu machine and android device are connected to a wireless router, you can easily access your files using an app on android called “AirDroid”. Its free on the google play store and it allows you to not only download files from your android device but it also allows you to upload as well, along with multiple other options like accessing your contact list, messages ect.

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