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There are a number of variations on the theme of connecting and synchronising Windows Mobile or Pocket PC PDAs and other devices with Gentoo. Much of the information is fragmented over a number of inconsistent sources, because of the changes made to both Microsoft PDA operating systems and to Linux software with which it interacts. Much of the information available has been made redundant by these changes, and it can be difficult to gather sufficient information to effect a reliably functioning installation. This article will be confined to the installation and setup of Gentoo and Windows Mobile 5 communication and synchronisation using rndis.

My experience of trying to get PocketPC/Windows Mobile to communicate and synchronise with Gentoo in the past has been very frustrating, but recently I have been able to get it to work very reliably. After all that work the best thing to do is to pass on my experience to others. I hope you find it useful.

Installation Hardware

The referenced installation is:

Connected PDA is:

Connection is via USB cable.

Note: To Do: Connection via Bluetooth



This install assumes you have a functioning Gentoo system with a recent kernel, udev and hal. This install works on arch = x86, but not tested on others. Feel free to try it and add your results to this HOWTO.

Windows Mobile 5 PDA Setup

First thing to do is to configure your Windows Mobile 5 device to use rndis and to setup it's IP addressing. On your Windows Mobile 5 PDA, go to:

Start » Settings » USB to PC

Ensure the "Enable advanced network functionality" check box is checked. This enables rndis protocol, otherwise your PDA will communicate over a USB serial connection. Next, set your PDA to use dhcp:

Start » Settings » Wi-Fi » Network Adapters » Remote-NDIS Host

Ensure the "Use server-assigned IP address" radio button is checked. You can use a fixed IP address - the default is - but this may interfere with communications with a Windows PC using ActiveSync. Recommend you stick with dhcp unless you need to troubleshoot.

Kernel Configuration

There are a number of means of providing rndis support under Gentoo:

Packages in the portage tree

hostname ~#
emerge -pv usb-rndis-lite usb-rndisImage:CursorOFF.gif
These are the packages that would be merged, in order:

Calculating dependencies                     ... done!       
[ebuild  N    ] sys-fs/usb-rndis-lite-9999  0 kB [1]
[ebuild  N    ] sys-fs/usb-rndis-9999  0 kB [1]
[blocks B     ] sys-fs/usb-rndis-lite (is blocking sys-fs/usb-rndis-9999)
[blocks B     ] sys-fs/usb-rndis (is blocking sys-fs/usb-rndis-lite-9999)

Total: 2 packages (2 new, 2 blocks), Size of downloads: 0 kB
Portage tree and overlays:
 [0] /usr/portage
 [1] /usr/portage/local/layman/synce

Kernel devices

Linux Kernel Configuration: Device Drivers
Device Drivers  --->
  [*] USB support  --->
    USB Gadget Support  --->
      <M> Support for USB Gadgets  --->
        USB Gadget Drivers  --->
          <M> Ethernet Gadget (with CDC Ethernet support)  --->
          [*] RNDIS support (EXPERIMENTAL) (NEW)  --->
Linux Kernel Configuration: Device Drivers
Device Drivers  --->
  [*] Network device support  --->
    USB Network Adapters  --->
      <M> Multi-purpose USB Networking Framework  --->
        <M> Host for RNDIS and ActiveSync devices (EXPERIMENTAL)  --->

The recommendation is that you configure your kernel to use the Network device support option. The original install followed the SynCE Wiki which uses usb-rndis-lite, but this does not appear to be necessary if kernel device support is used.

Kernel Modules

System Services



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Last modified: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 15:47:00 +0000 Hits: 562