Using a fingerprint reader on Linux Mint

Hi there!

I hope that you really enjoyed this season to do your last snowboard or ski sessions, in my case I was in Vars (French Alps) and it was awesome ! But anyway, that is not today’s topic. So, in this post, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to use a fingerprint reader on Linux. For those who are wondering how useful it is: first of all that’s very handy to log in when your laptop starts up, and finally, it allows you to refrain from your password mostly everywhere you used to type it (like in the console when you have to use sudo commands for example). You no longer need to enter your 20 characters password every time you wanna do something that requires root access, in the console as well as in the graphical interface. And this is quite awesome, because the support for fingerprint readers becomes far more advanced on Linux than on Windows! What a shame as they has first been designed to run on Microsoft’s operating system!

Okay so let’s get into it. As you may have already guess, this manipulation won’t work with all the fingerprint readers. AuthenTec’s ones (like the one I’ve got on my DV9000) are well-known to work without any trouble with the tools we’ll be using. If you are not sure whether your reader is compatible or not, follow the “tutorial” anyway and you will see if it works. 😉

So, first of all we’ll need to install all of these packages:

$ su
$ apt-get install fprintd libpam-fprintd

Once you’ve done it, you no longer need to do anything else except enrolling your fingers and linking them to your user account.

The “true rootz” way

As said in the sub-title, we’re gonna have a look at the easiest and the quickest way to enroll your fingers in the software, because this manipulation can be done by just running a command into the terminal.
So, to start the fingerprint-enrolling process, execute the fprintd-enroll command and swipe your finger as the softwares asks it.

$ fprintd-enroll
Enrolling right index finger.
Enroll result: enroll-stage-passed
Enroll result: enroll-stage-passed
Enroll result: enroll-stage-passed
Enroll result: enroll-stage-passed
Enroll result: enroll-stage-passed
Enroll result: enroll-completed

Simple, and efficient. :)

The “Windows users” way

Open the “User Accounts” application from the main menu and unlock it by clicking the button in the top right corner. Then, enable the fingerprint reader, choose the finger you want to enroll and the job’s done!

No matter which way you used to get your fingerprint reader working, you get exactly the same result, and if you reader works well with fprintd, you should now be able to use your finger almost everywhere, when your system asks for an authentication (terminal commands, GUI softwares etc…)!

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