bluez is advertised as "Official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack". There's a package (several actually) that can be installed:

$ apt-cache search bluez
bluez - Bluetooth tools and daemons
bluez-cups - Bluetooth printer driver for CUPS
bluez-dbg - Bluetooth tools and daemons (with debugging symbols)
bluez-hcidump - Analyses Bluetooth HCI packets
bluez-obexd - bluez obex daemon
bluez-test-scripts - test scripts of bluez
bluez-test-tools - test tools of bluez
bluez-tools - Set of tools to manage Bluetooth devices for linux

What is the status of this package? I ask because after installing the bluez package, I don't find a man page available (there doesn't seem to be a file named bluez on my machine). Does anyone else have one? Does it exist? Where can one get a copy? What is used for documentation?

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    Last bluez release was v5.50 in June 2018. From the DEB file list for 5.43-2 shipped with stretch there should be some man pages for the individual tools and for the daemon. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:04
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    $ man btmgmt ==> No manual entry for btmgmt. Not sure how to navigate the file list, but nothing I saw suggested existence of a man page. Also, nothing listed under docs for bluez
    – Seamus
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:24
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    Man pages should be installed at /usr/share/man with subdirectories for the sections. Try man 1 bluetoothctl or man 8 bluetoothd for example. Online, try here: manpages.debian.org/stretch/bluez/index.html Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 19:35
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    Apparently bluetoothd = bluez... who knew? The file list you linked to is a big help in getting a handle on this. Maybe it's just me, but the "bluez universe" seems to be characterized by substandard documentation.
    – Seamus
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 21:01
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    According to the package contents there should be 19 man pages installed but looking at them they're pretty sparse. How about git.kernel.org/pub/scm/bluetooth/bluez.git/tree/README and git.kernel.org/pub/scm/bluetooth/bluez.git/tree/doc ? Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


At the time of writing the latest BlueZ release was v5.50 back in June 2018 whilst v5.43-2 is available in the Stretch repositories. Installing the bluez package should have installed 19 or so man pages along with the usual Debian README.Debian.gz file, you can see the list of files installed by the package on it's page on the Debian Packages site.

You can also view the man pages online at the Debian Manpages site. Unfortunately the btmgmt tool you're interested in does not have a man page but it does offer some built-in help with btmgmt <command> --help.

As you've noted, the documentation in the supplied man pages is quite sparse and (to me, anyway) feels like there's a missing "overview" document somewhere that should be read first. You may have more luck going straight to the "source" and looking through some of the files in the code repository at https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/bluetooth/bluez.git/tree, the "doc" directory contains several text files but from a cursory look they seem to be more about the kernel API than using the userland tools as an end-user.

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    Good answer +1. If you don't mind, I'll wait a day or two to select an answer; that may encourage other "BlueZ cogniscenti" to come forward & shed more light on this.
    – Seamus
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:09
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    Not a problem, it's sad that so many "cornerstone" GNU/Linux projects and technologies have such bad documentation (even a basic wiki would help). If you do make some headway and you feel that way inclined you could contribute to the documentation to improve it: it's open source after all. Good luck. Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 6:42
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    That's a fair comment: "don't bitch, contribute". And in general I agree with that. However, after submitting a few legitimate bug reports (see man reportbug :) to the debian team, I've concluded that they are just not interested in bug reports from the rank and file user community. And so, I've chosen not to waste my time in that fashion.
    – Seamus
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 19:18

UPDATE 1: Sep 25, 2020:

That is all.

UPDATE 2: Nov 2, 2020:

Still no improvements on the documentation AFAIK, but I did make some (painful & slow) progress on getting Bluetooth to do something useful on my system - streaming music to a BT speaker.

Please feel free to edit this answer, or comment if you have better information on the documentation.



What is the status of BlueZ, and where is the man page?


Yes, I could not find good documentation on BlueZ V5.50 installation.

My disappointing progress report on installing BlueZ V5.50.

I have just found a very detailed guide on how to install BlueZ V5.50 on Rpi's including Rpi4B. I hope to try it soon and then report my progress.


(1) Developer Study Guide: Deploying BlueZ v5.50 on Raspberry Pi Board (Including Rpi4B)

(2) Bluetooth Mesh Models Technical Overview

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