Disabling Bluetooth as Default in Debian Based Distros

In the wonderful world of modern linux desktops many distros will detect and configure the majority of your hardware out of the box. This is a great feature and in this area linux is often ahead of its counterparts.

Sometimes, however, there is a piece of hardware that you either don’t need, or don’t want handled automatically for you. One such thing for me is bluetooth.

Although my laptop is equipped with bluetooth, I just don’t use it very often. This is fine except that I’d rather not waste the battery power on something I’m unlikely to to use anytime soon. Unfortunately in Ubuntu based distros if you turn bluetooth off from within the desktop it is re-enabled upon a reboot.

Problem: Bluetooth remains on by default at boot even when turned off in bluetooth manager during last use.

Solution: A simple way to ensure bluetooth is turned off by default but still available to switch on via whichever bluetooth manager applet is provided by your particular desktop environment is to kill it upon boot with rfkill. This is done by adding a line to /etc/rc.local which is a file run by Debian based systems near the end of the boot cycle.

In a terminal enter the following command to edit rc.local

gksudo gedit /etc/rc.local

Add the following line between the comments and the line ‘exit 0’

rfkill block bluetooth

Save & Exit


Edit: After recently installing Linux Mint Debian Edition I’ve noted that it does not come with the package rfkill installed by default as does Ubuntu or regular Linux Mint. This package can be installed as below.

sudo apt-get install rfkill


Some (hopefully) useful linux tips

Those people that know me get a little sick of me banging on about how I use linux and, where I can, free (as in libre) software on the desktop, this includes both at home and at the university where I study.

While I’m not going to go into too much detail about the hows and whys of my desktop computer use right here and now, I will say that to say switching to Linux on the desktop (and especially on a Mac, as I do) has a bit of a learning curve. This, I think, is true for anyone coming from an other desktop environment.

Although I am by no means either a computer or linux expert (far from it in fact), what I have done is to document some of the problems I’ve come across in my everyday use of linux.

When I’ve come across a problem that has either; taken me some time to figure out; come up against a number of times and needed to search for a solution each time because I’ve forgotten what to do; or just thought that the answer might just come in handy some other time, I’ve made a note of the problem and the solution.

In many cases, I also tried to record a short synopsis of the problem and solution as well as the steps taken to rectify the problem. The purpose of this has been to ensure I both understand the problem and so I have a record of what I’ve done that is easy to read. The upshot is that, in doing so, I’ve ended up with pretty detailed notes where I explain the problem and solution to myself.

I’ve had these notes in Tomboy installation that I’ve moved from one install to another – all the time meaning to export them to plain text somewhere. The other day, when performing a full format reinstall of my laptop, I booted into a gParted live session to play with my partitions when I would have liked to access my notes on gdisk – no luck. ‘Would be great if I had these online’, I thought.

I also got to thinking that I have this little WordPress blog where I wanted to write up my thoughts on some things that were going on around me in the world. If you take a quick look at my post history you’ll see how far I got with that.  With that in mind I think this might be a good place to put my notes. Yes, I do know it’s not plain text but they are accessible to me, and to the world. If I’m lucky others will find them useful too.

Adding a printer to Linux Mint 12 or Ubuntu 11.10 with GnomeShell

After installing Linux Mint 12 the other day, today I set about reinstalling my printer which is usually a process of a few clicks of the mouse. Unfortunately GnomeShell that ships with Mint 12 (and, I believe, Ubuntu 11.10 if Unity is not your bag) ships with a broken printer configuration tool that, believe it or not, doesn’t let you install a printer.

On the upside, there is an easy solution to the problem, read on.

Problem: Mint 12/Ubuntu 11.10 has a bug in the printing configuration tool that inhibits installation of new printers and displays the following error.

“FirewallD is not running. Network printer detection needs services mdns, ipp, ipp-client and samba-client enabled on firewall.”

Problem is, FirewallD is a Fedora specific daemon and no matter how long we wait, it’s not about to start under Mint, Ubuntu or Debian.

Solution: In Ubuntu/Debian/Mint printers can be installed using the traditional printer dialog which can be accessed from the command line with using the following command:


Solution2: Printers can also be installed by using the CUPS web interface which can be accessed by pointing your browser at http://localhost:631/

Note: The CUPS web interface is available from any distro that has CUPS installed. You will, however, need to know the root password for those distros that utilse a root shell rather than sudo.

Many thanks to the good people (especially altair4) over the Linux Mint forums from where this solution was sourced.