So, I was wondering how to access my PlayBook using SSH. It would be really convinient to access it from laptop, browse files, etc. I did poke around on Internet and finally identified solution how to SSH to PlayBook 🙂 For now only as a normal user and working towards getting root access (I guess Dingleberry will be helpful at some stage) 🙂

For now let’s have a look into details of accessing PlayBook via SSH. for that I will use:

  • BlackBerry Tablet SDK 2.0.0 – available for free on BlackBerry web page here. There might be newer version available by now.
  • PuTTY – I guess most popular free terminal emulator for SSH, Telnet and Serial connections, available here. From that package PuTTY.exe and PuTTYgen.exe will be required.

First I did install BlackBerry Tablet SDK in D:\Program Files\Research In Motion\blackberry-tablet-sdk-2.0.0\ folder. From PuTTY web page I downloaded putty-0.62-installer.exe in D:\Program Files\PuTTY\ folder.

From PuTTY folder run PuTTYgen.exe and once started:

  • Change Number of bits in a generated key to 4096
  • Click Generate button
  • Highlight key in Public key for pasting into OpenSSH authorized keys file section, right-click on it and Copy to clipboard

After that start Notepad and paste public key copied from PuTTYgen application. Once key is in Notepad save it. In this example I saved public key in D:\ file.

After public key is saved go back to PuTTYgen application and click Save private key. PuTTYgen will ask if you want to save key without passphrase. Click Yes and choose location and file name for private key file. In this example I saved private key in D:\rsa.ppk file.

Once private and public keys are saved start Command Prompt. In Command Prompt window go to D:\Program Files\Research In Motion\blackberry-tablet-sdk-2.0.0\bin.

Once in this folder issue command:

blackberry-connect.bat -password abc123 -sshPublicKey d:\
IP address and password should be modified accordingly to your configuration. IP address is the address of PlayBook and password is protection password to access PlayBook (if it is set on your device). Also, please remember to turn on Debug Mode on PlayBook.

Once blackberry-connect.bat is started you should see results similar to that:

D:\Program Files\Research In Motion\blackberry-tablet-sdk-2.0.0\bin>
blackberry-connect.bat -password abc123 -sshPublicKey d:\
Info: Connecting to target
Info: Authenticating with target
Info: Encryption parameters verified
Info: Authenticating with target credentials.
Info: Successfully authenticated with target credentials.
Info: Sending ssh key to target
Info: ssh key successfully transferred.
Info: Successfully connected.
This application must remain running in order to use debug tools.
Exiting the application will terminate this connection.
If different version of BlackBerry SDK has been installed folder might be slightly different. Please be aware of that and modify path accordingly to your installation.

Now it’s time to connect to PlayBook using SSH. In order to do that start PuTTY. On first screen enter IP address of your PlayBook.

Then go to Connection\Data in PuTTY configuration tree and type username devuser (as on screenshot below).

Last step is to point PuTTY client to private key file, which will be used for authentication when accessing PlayBook via SSH. Go to Connection\SSH\Auth section in PuTTY configuration tree and point to private key file in Private key file for authentication field. In my case it will be D:\rsa.ppk as I saved private key generated by PuTTYgen in that file.

Now just click Open in PuTTY and few seconds later you have terminal access to your PlayBook.

Enjoy browsing PlayBook filesystem via SSH from your laptop or desktop computer 🙂