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Using the Thinkpad fingerprint reader on Linux (HOWTO)

April 25th, 2006 · 2 Comments

Update: new overlay for xscreensaver 5 (see below)

A Linux driver for the fingerprint reader found in some of the newer Thinkpads has been released (I have a T43p). I got it to work on Gentoo using the instructions and ebuilds provided by Tobias Sager, which are based on the original instructions found in the very useful Thinkwiki. For getting xscreensaver to work, I used the alternative patch found in It works! Now I can login and unlock my screen using the fingerprint reader.

One thing that caused me trouble is that for non-root users to be able to authenticate, they have to be able to read the files under /etc/bioapi/pam, so make sure the “usb” group has read permissions there.

I have made a modified xscreensaver-4.24 ebuild (with version 4.24-r1) that you can put in your overlay and that includes the patch for alternative PAM authentication and the patch for GL screen selection. You can download it here.

Update: I have made a version of the patch for xscreensaver 5, and updated the overlay to include a modified xscreensaver-5.00 ebuild (with version 5.00-r1). Seems to work fine.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1  Jürgen Löb // Jan 18, 2007 at 2:59 am

    I was unable to compile the ebuild (alternative-auth patch failed). After modifying the ebuild for 4.24-r1 I was able to compile the ebuild and use it.

    I made the following changes:

    commented out:

    added line in function src_compile():

    Using the same changes in the 5.00 ebuild results in getting the following error:

    Jan 17 23:22:49 galadriel xscreensaver[13322]: PAM _pam_load_conf_file: unable t
    o open /etc/pam.d/system.auth
    Jan 17 23:22:49 galadriel xscreensaver[13322]: PAM unable to dlopen(<unknown mo
    dule path
    Jan 17 23:22:49 galadriel xscreensaver[13322]: PAM [error: <unknown module path
    *>: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory]
    Jan 17 23:22:49 galadriel xscreensaver[13322]: PAM adding faulty module: <
    wn module path*>

    I hope this of some help.

  • 2 Run xscreensaver GL hacks only on one xinerama screen | BrT // Feb 19, 2007 at 11:40 am

    [...] You can get the patch for xscreensaver 5.00 here: xscreensaver-5.00-glscreencontrol.patch If you use Gentoo, you can get the xscreensaver portage overlay (which also includes the fingerprint reader patch) here: xscreensaver-overlay.tar.gz [...]