Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mounting a Samsung Galaxy SIII on Ubuntu

Ok...  So it turns out that at some point Google changed Android so that mounting a phone as USB mass storage is no longer an option!

WTF?!
Really!!?

Yep.  Really.
As in really astonishing.

The phones now only offer MTP and PTP.  MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) is the default, and, out of the box, this doesn't even work on Windows XP much less Linux.  For Windows the drivers are, get this, carrier specific (did I already say WTF?  Yes, I did?  Good, but it may be worth saying again).

So, in a nutshell, a completely bullet proof, near universal, and dead simple method of getting files on and off a device like a Samgung Galaxy, has been replaced by a propitiatory method, available only on selected operating systems, certain versions, no Linux, and only then with some extra tinkering that your Mom can't do.
Well that's just awesome!

Here's an easy work around that resolves this for later Ubuntu releases and similar, without installing anything.

With the phone plugged in, drop down the notifications, on the device, and look for the USB connection item.  Select it.  Next you get a couple of check boxes for selecting either MTP or PTP.  Change it to PTP.  Nautilus loves PTP.

You can now browse around the mounted phone and drag and drop files as it should be in any sane version of this world.  The computer thinks it's a camera.  Whatever computer...

Other good choices include various FTP servers for Android.  They work fine of course, and I also tried a program called WiFi File Explorer, or something, that is essentially an HTTP server that can manage get and put requests.  It worked fine, and has a web based browse.

Have fun.