Using the Thinkpad fingerprint reader on Linux (HOWTO)

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 linux.spiney.org. 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 to “Using the Thinkpad fingerprint reader on Linux (HOWTO)

  1. 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:
    eautoreconf

    added line in function src_compile():
    –with-pam-alt-service-name=bioapi4a7d3d609129a9296bf7ac0608c2097

    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: <
    unkno
    wn module path*>

    I hope this of some help.

  2. Pingback: Run xscreensaver GL hacks only on one xinerama screen | BrT

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