3rd Sep

Garmin Forerunner 305/405 musings

Updated from previous posting!

Garmin Forerunner 405

Garmin Forerunner 405

UPDATE: thanks to the efforts of lots of people in the community we are now able to download tracks from the Garmin Forerunner 405 Linux. See comment 3432 for a summary of how to do it.

I’d really like to get a Garmin Forerunner. It’s a GPS device with a heart rate monitor which you use for training, I’d use it for my running.

I don’t mind which model I get I don’t suppose – I’d like to get the 405 as it’s the latest and greatest and looks swish, but should be happy with the 305. Which I get depends on the money I can raise.

My immediate concern is that I use Ubuntu Linux, not Microsoft Windows, as my primary operating system. This, as any Apple Mac user will attest, means that typically manufacturers forget about us significant minority and so we can’t use their tools. In the case of Garmin their “Training Center” [sic, USA spelling] software is fairly critical to the whole experience as it analyses all the GPS data etc and gives you graphs/targets yada yada.

So I decided to get in touch with Garmin to ask whether Linux support was on its way, or whether they perhaps had a web-based version.

Off I trotted, onto the Garmin website. First of all I went to the UK site but the contact form was broken, it gave a 404 Not Found or something similar when I submitted my email. Thankfully the ‘back button’ saved me and I managed to retrieve the long text I had typed in.

I then tracked down an email address for the webmaster so emailed them about the contact form problem, but not had a reply.

At the same time I found a form on the USA version of the site and sent my enquiry to their.

I’m pleased to say that I did get a reply. Sadly they don’t have plans to support Linux, but Garmin Connect does look like it may be what I’m looking for as a web interface. So fingers crossed.

Conclusion? Their website let me down, but when the website worked the people manning the support email were helpful. I shall let you know if I manage to save up enough to get one!


Leave a reply below

  • vincent
    September 17, 2008 at 9:36 pm // Reply

    I’m in the same situation, so please let us know if you get one and manage to make it work on Ubuntu. It seems to me that Garmin Connect is a good bet since it is web-based, but the problem might be in connecting the watch to your computer, especially in the 405 case, since it is supposed to connect wirelessly using a USB ANT stick. I don’t know if this protocol is well supported on Linux…

    • September 18, 2008 at 7:29 am // Reply

      I am hoping, probably naïvely, that all Ubuntu will see is a USB storage device and that the ANT stick will take care of the wireless communication with the wristwatch.

      I was hoping to sell my old PC to raise funds for a 405, but that hasn’t happened so I will have to save up the old fashioned way. Ebuyer are stocking the 405s with HRM and seem as cheap as anywhere on the web so I will probably use my staff free next day delivery and get one from here rather than wait 5 days for free delivery.


      Please let me know if you beat me to getting one!

  • September 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm // Reply

    I have been in touch with Garmin tech support. It is certainly the case that we’re on our own. I tried to persuade them to plug one into Ubuntu but they wouldn’t/couldn’t.

    Anyway, here’s my emailings:

    Stephen O’Neill wrote:
    Hi there!

    I blogged about whether or not the Garmin Forerunner 405 would work with
    Linux or not a few weeks ago, and someone found my post and wrote a
    comment last night.


    I wondered whether you would like to test whether the unit works with
    Ubuntu (or any flavour of Linux – it doesn’t really matter which) so
    that I can post up on my website – as my stats show a few hits and I’m
    second in Google for “garmin forerunner 405 ubuntu”.

    The crux of what we’d like to know is:

    If we plug the ANT stick into a computer running Ubuntu can we retrieve
    the data and upload it to Garmin Connect?

    I would expect that it wouldn’t be too time consuming for you to test
    this and it would be really helpful to a number of people who seem to be

    Please let me know what you think. I am happy to provide support for you
    over email if you need assistance installing Ubuntu itself. I would be
    happy to write up a new post with any findings that you had.

    If I had a bigger readership on my blog I would suggest that we do a
    deal where you let me trial a unit and do a review, but I can’t
    guarantee the numbers that would make that worthwhile for you.

    Garmin wrote:
    I’m sorry, but we are only able to support Windows and Mac with our Training Center software, so I wouldn’t be able to test Linux.

    Stephen O’Neill wrote:
    Hi, sorry I maybe wasn’t clear.

    I wasn’t asking for you to support Linux with the Training Center software.

    What I was pointed to previously was your Garmin Connect online service. What I am hoping is that, as a Linux user, I can transfer data from the wristwatch to the Garmin Connect service. Do you still need the Training Center software in order to do this?

    Garmin wrote:
    No, you wouldn’t need the Training Software for this. You would need the ANT Agent, which is currently on available for Windows. You can download the ANT Agent software from http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=3741.

  • September 18, 2008 at 7:42 pm // Reply

    I will try running the ANT software under wine at some point but I’m not optimistic.

    There is this thread that kinda looks like people are working on something, so maybe something will come along for the Linux kernel at some point?


    It’s frustrating as I can’t find out whether it works without buying one… but I suppose we’re covered by the distance selling regulations in the UK.

  • vincent
    September 22, 2008 at 6:24 pm // Reply


    Sorry I was away from the Internet for the last days. I do not know yet if I’ll buy a watch and when, I’m still undecided, Linux being one important factor since I surely don’t want to use Windoze again after 7 years of having lived without it. ;-) So please keep me updated if you get anything on that.

    Running the software through wine is indeed a possibility, which I suppose should work in principle, but it is far from ideal of course.

    I had a look at the thread you pointed out on the garmin developers website. However it seems that progress has stalled (and I do not have the technical knowledge required to help out unfortunately…)

    On another note, I also contacted Garmin asking for Linux support for the ANT protocol, but their answer was not very helpful. Here’s the exchange:

    I’m running Ubuntu Linux on my computer, and I’m interested in buying a Forerunner 405 watch. However before I buy it, I would like to know if the USB ANT protocol that the watch uses is supported on Linux. I’m happy to use the web-based software Garmin Connect to analyse my runs, but I need to know if the watch can communicate with my computer first. I hope the protocol is supported, or if it is not at the moment, that you plan to offer Linux support in the near future.

    Their answer (from Mark R):

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

    I would be happy to help you with this. At this time, Linux is not compatible and we are unaware if our software team will be implementing Linux as a compatible operating system. I apologize about any inconvenience this brings.

    With Best Regards,

    So they seem to be happy to “help”, but I’m not sure what they mean by that. I suppose the only thing to be done is to get a watch and try it out and see what happens, but it’s quite a big investment… Otherwise it would be to convince them to try it out, but it looks like you tried this and they are not very open to this possibility unfortunately…


  • September 22, 2008 at 7:23 pm // Reply

    I am heartened that Mac support for the ANT protocol is due to be forthcoming any time soon. But it will be closed source so probably won’t help the Linux devs that much.

    The whole thing has made me wonder whether I should get the 305, or even a Polar RS400.The comments after the Runners World ‘review’ (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?sp=370838622312410473594&v=1&uan=3320) suggest that the 405 might have some usability issues. Though this review is more balanced (http://www.runnerplus.com/forum/topicpage-158-1021-garmin_forerunner_405_first_impressions_and_review-1) and these people seem to think that the Garmin’s aren’t too hot on GPS visibilty (http://www.pccoach.com/newsletters/May06/ComparisonReviewS625XvFR305.htm).

    My gut feeling is that I will end up going for the 405, but that I will be dual booting into Windows for a bit.

    I shall keep you posted!

  • September 24, 2008 at 8:46 pm // Reply

    Well, I have ordered one from work. It shall be delivered tomorrow. Eek.

  • vincent
    September 25, 2008 at 2:19 am // Reply

    Good! Let’s hope it works… :-)

  • September 25, 2008 at 7:41 am // Reply

    I think that we both know that it won’t, but at least I’ll be able to actively test new developments and perhaps assist potential developers.

    My halfway house might be that I dump the data using Windows and then use pytrainer under Linux. Programming the training partner sounds like it needs to be done in Windows too as it can’t be done on the 405 itself.

  • September 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm // Reply

    Got the gadget and have been using it. As predicted it won’t play ball in Linux which is a real shame. I have waved at people on the developer forum in case I can be of help. http://developer.garmin.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=435

    I will be doing a full review of my experience with using the device in the next week or two.

    Executive summary: small device, impressive what’s packed into the housing. Isn’t half as user friendly as Garmin make out, but I’m getting used to it – the bezel can be fiddly, I can’t get on-demand back light to come up when the bezel is locked, even the ANT stick doesn’t work as seamlessly as they make out in the Runners World marketing hyperbole ‘review’ and Garmin Connect doesn’t look like it’s fully featured yet – stuff they say you can do in the manual doesn’t look like it’s enabled on the site yet so you need to use Training Center.

    That’s the bad stuff, but the good stuff is that it does lock onto satellites quickly, the HRM works really well, the data it shows on the move is really good too.

    Hell, this has turned into a mini-review.

    You can have a look at the data from the 3 mile test I did this morning here – http://connect.garmin.com/activity/932811

    The drop right near the start is where I tried to lock the bezel but managed to stop the timer (grrr – usability again!).

  • vincent
    October 2, 2008 at 12:55 am // Reply

    Thanks a lot for the update. The data from your run looks great!

    So nothing works on Linux? I mean, the ANT stick is not recognized at all? No data transfer possible? This is really bad. Have you tried running the ANT software under wine?

    For me this is a killer: I really don’t want to have to reinstall Windows on my laptop, I’ve been so happy for so long without it. :-) But if I could use it under Wine, while not ideal, that could still be a solution…

    The forum on the Garmin developer’s website doesn’t seem to be very much alive unfortunately…

    Thanks a lot!

  • October 2, 2008 at 7:37 am // Reply

    To be honest I haven’t even bothered running it under wine as yet. I will give it a whirl – you never know, I might be really lucky.

    As for what Linux makes of the ANT stick, dmesg does pick up the USB device but I can’t cat any data from it and the programs on those other threads seemed to do nothing for me. And having read the state of those dev threads it sounds like you’d need to be a programmer to take them to the next stage and decode the data stream.

    I shall report back with a wine test. Watch this space.

  • October 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm // Reply

    I did test this by the way, and it didn’t work – the installer ran but it couldn’t get past the point where Windows would have picked the driver up and installed the device.

  • vincent
    October 27, 2008 at 5:10 pm // Reply

    OK… too bad then! I think I’ll have to wait for a bit and see if there’s any open source software development for the watch on linux… If only I knew how to code myself! Perhaps I should start learning…

    thanks a lot anyway! ;-)

  • Jesper Brouer
    February 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm // Reply

    Under Linux I got the data (.tcx files) downloaded from the watch.

    Using the tool from:

    This is the tool mentioned at the thread:

    These .tcx files can the be uploaded to connect.garmin.com … and everything is good :-)

    Thanks to Paul / gdev who developed the “gant” tool.

  • sbr
    August 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm // Reply

    For the Forerunner 305 there is a Python app for Linux to download data from the unit. You get a .tcx file out for each session.

    This .tcx can then be analysed by various tools. You can try using GarminConnect (website) but I have found that whist it is fairly bling it doesn’t do much analysis. Rumours exist for alternative open-source tools.

  • absolado
    September 3, 2009 at 3:03 am // Reply

    Any open source tools / apps for this gadget yet? Relunctant to get it if there’s no way for us, Linux users to fully exploit the data collected.. what a bummer..

    • September 3, 2009 at 7:16 am // Reply

      Unfortunately I haven’t seen anything yet :( I have been downloading the data in Windows then viewing it in Linux using Sportstracks (though obviously you could use another app). Garmin showed no interest in Linux when I contacted their customer support sadly.

    • September 3, 2009 at 7:23 am // Reply

      There was a guy on a dev forum last year that was hoping he’d get time to work on a Linux tool to grab the data but I don’t think he got chance. I can’t be more specific as the links I had pointed to don’t work any more!!! For God’s sake Garmin – not only has Linux passed you by, but so has the concept of persistent urls!

  • vincent
    September 6, 2009 at 7:03 am // Reply


    I just noticed that this post is still alive. Indeed the links from the Garmin dev forum of a while ago are broken (somehow Garmin made the Linux discussions disappear… :-) However, I found this page, http://cgit.gromotion.com/cgit.cgi/gant/, which seems to provide an open source linux driver for the Forerunner 405. From what I read on various forums, it seems to work fine.

    I found out about this link from the thread http://developer.garmin.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4859&highlight=linux on the garmin dev forum (watch out the link may not work anymore in a little while… :-) This thread http://developer.garmin.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=410&sid=364a435cad56f8520a2167e6f9f8313b also hasn’t been deleted yet… the second page of the thread is quite recent. There’s a few links there to other linux drivers for ANT devices (well perhaps they’re the same driver, I’m not sure).

  • September 24, 2009 at 2:49 am // Reply

    I’m receiving my 405 next month… so I hope to be able run it in my ubuntu linux! In case of success I will post a feedback here.

  • September 26, 2009 at 7:40 am // Reply

    You could always try persuading the Garmin folk to get their installer working under Wine. After all, that’s how I run Spotify. Wine has improved considerably since I first tried it over 10 years ago and if it’s capable of running a program like Spotify I’m sure it would handle the Garmin application. Perhaps if they realised that they only had to work on the installer they might do something about it – just a thought.

  • Steve King
    September 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm // Reply

    The killer in Wine will be the lack of any USB device support, I’d have thought. I can run TomTom Home in Wine but it does not see the device.


  • toby johnson
    October 8, 2009 at 3:32 am // Reply

    Just to help anyone who may still be looking for a solution here… it looks like SportTracks (which seems very similar to Garmin Training Center) now runs under Mono in Linux:


    And in fact someone has written a plugin for that app, which imports data directly from the 305:


    That plugin depends on garmin_forerunner_tools, which is in the Ubuntu “universe” repository in Synaptic (I’m rather surprised no one mentioned that yet, I simply searched for “garmin” in Synaptic and found it…)

    Anyway, I am still on Ubuntu 8.10 so I haven’t tried this all out yet, I’m waiting for 9.10 to come out in a few weeks (since the versions of Mono in 8.10 are too old). I have however been able to easily dump the data into XML format using the garmin_forerunner_tools package.

    So all in all it looks like support for the Forerunner is getting very good on Linux in general, and Ubuntu in particular…

  • November 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm // Reply

    Hello all,

    Just wanted to update this page with the new URL for the Gant (Forerunner 405 Open Source driver). I have consolidated servers and am now hosting the git repository here:


    Best regards,

    Jordan Miller

  • Stephen
    November 25, 2009 at 9:20 am // Reply

    Thanks for keeping us updated everyone – it’s really appreciated and hopefully it will help a lot of others as this page seems to rank highly in the search engines.

    I have been nursing an injury for a few months so haven’t been out with my 405 for quite a while – I will make an effort to try it out and see how things have come on :)

    Thanks again!

    • November 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm // Reply

      I’m really really really excited!

      Thanks to Paul and Jordan’s Gant efforts and the SportTracks guys I can now get tracks in Linux!!!

      Plus the TCX files can be manually uploaded to connect.garmin.com which is another bonus.

      I appreciate that we already have all this documented above but I just wanted to summarise it:

      cd /tmp
      wget http://cgit.get-open.com/cgit.cgi/gant/snapshot/gant-master.tar.bz2
      tar -xjf gant-master.tar.bz2
      cd gant-master
      make clean

      Then follow the instructions in the README file for getting data off the 405. I found this erratic, but if you cancel and retry a few times you do get the data! Let’s be honest – the Windows official binaries don’t make that great a job of it do they? The TCX files end up in the same folder.

      To use SportTracks make sure you have mono-common installed (if using Ubuntu):

      sudo apt-get install mono-common

      Then download from http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/Downloads/linux.php and follow the instructions.

      Time for me to make a donation to these people for all their work me thinks! Thanks again for everyone’s help bringing this thread together over such a long period of time!

  • Greg
    December 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm // Reply


    Just wondering if you can eloborate on the Ubuntu instructions any further.

    I’m up to the ‘make’ command, and just get this response:
    make: Nothing to be done for `all’.

    Do I need to alter permissions anywhere?

    For info: Using Ubuntu 9.04

    • December 24, 2009 at 7:00 am // Reply

      @Greg – thanks for that, I have updated the instructions. It does appear, actually, that the pre-built binary exists in that archive I said to download. That makes me wonder whether building it ourselves is even necessary. Can’t hurt I suppose!

  • Greg
    December 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm // Reply

    No worries Stephen,

    A bit more playing around revealed run:
    make clean

    and then make.

  • Kasper
    December 23, 2009 at 7:51 am // Reply

    Thanks for all the work out there, but I keep getting a segmentation fault. Garmin 405 says, ‘transferring data’, then ‘transfer complete’, while it really hasn’t transfered anything.

    Sometimes it also says ‘pair with kasper?’, I press enter and it immediately resets.

    channel open, waiting for broadcast
    pairing, using id 270c1f83
    sending pair data for dev kasper
    storing auth data in auth405

    • December 24, 2009 at 6:57 am // Reply

      That’s a shame Kasper :( I did see one segfault but kept retrying and all was well. Not seen one since the first time I did it.

      The only couple of things I can think of are really obvious so aren’t very helpful: are there definitely tracks on the watch to download? The track files become .TCX files in your working directory – have they not appeared?

      You can turn on more debugging with the ‘D’ flag – that’s mentioned in the README file. Maybe that can give some clues.

      Hopefully someone can help you out Kasper!

  • Charlie
    December 30, 2009 at 4:54 am // Reply

    For some reason, when I try and upload one of the .TCX files from gant to Garmin Connect, I get an error. I can successfully upload a gpx file from Sporttracks, but that doesn’t have heart rate support. Anyone have or solve this problem?

  • Colm O'Neill
    January 6, 2010 at 9:36 am // Reply

    Just switched to Ubuntu from Windows so I’m a total Linux newbie! Good to see there’s so many people trying to solve to Garmin 405 problems. I’m going to (try) to follow the advice above and see what happens.

    Thanks guys. Will let you know how I get on…

  • axel
    January 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm // Reply

    When I try to pair I get this message
    ” xxx@CQ60:/tmp/gant-master$ sudo ./gant -f paul -a auth405
    channel open, waiting for broadcast
    reading auth data from auth405
    Unhandled response event 06
    Unhandled response event 06
    Unhandled response event 01

    What do I do wrong?

  • jens
    February 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm // Reply

    @axel: maybe your device isn’t set to pair with your computer. you have to enable this on the watch under: Menu-> Settings -> ANT+ Sport -> Computer -> Pairing: on.

  • Ricardo
    February 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm // Reply


    just now I can download the tracks to files. I found some problem if you have a lot of tracks in the clock. I had to delete old tracks and try again. Finally the procedure work without problems.

    Now I what to upload a track to the clock. Somebody know how I could do it? Can I do it with gant-master?

    Thanks in advance.

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