Chapter 2. Installation for GNU/Linux

Table of Contents

2.1. Prerequisites
2.1.1. Installation of GnuPG
2.2. Required Hardware
2.2.1. A List of tested Readers
2.3. Installation of Card Reader
2.3.1. CCID (Chip Card Interface Description)
2.3.2. PC/SC (Personal computer/Smart Card)

Since version 1.3.90 GnuPG supports smart cards by default.

2.1. Prerequisites

Please make sure that libusb is available prior to building GnuPG. It can be obtained from On Debian GNU/Linux a simple apt-get install libusb-dev should be sufficient.

If you are not using an USB reader please also install libpcsclite and libpcsclite-dev. On Debian GNU/Linux a simple apt-get install libpcsclite libpcsclite-dev should be sufficient.

If your reader is a native USB device and supports the CCID (Chip Card Interface Description) specification it is directly supported by GnuPG.

Most USB readers today still behave like serial readers. In this case you need the kernel module pl2303 to access the reader. This module is a "USB Serial Driver" which can be found under Device Drivers->USB-Support->USB Serial Converter Support->USB Prolitic 2303 in the 2.6 kernel configuration. This module makes sure that the proprietary reader protocol is translated to a standard protocol.

2.1.1. Installation of GnuPG

Without an installation of GnuPG the OpenPGP card will be of little use. So, please, go ahead and install it.

GnuPG can be downloaded from Please use the recent stable version.

After downloading and patching the sources GnuPG is installed with the usual ./configure, make, make install. For further information please refer to the installation instructions shipped with GnuPG.


If you are running Debian GNU/Linux you can also build your own Debian package with dh_make and debuild in the source directory. After that you can install it the usual way with dpkg -i gnupg-version.deb

If you are using the 1.9 branch of GnuPG and plan to use the PC/SC driver you should now install the software to make sure that the pcsc wrapper binary will be available at the right place.