Slow progress with the OpenPGP smartcard

I’ve finally had some success with my OpenPGP card. I gave up trying to use it (and the two card readers I own) under Ubuntu Dapper. I said I would wait until Ubuntu Edgy was released and I did so, but was in no hurry to give it a go because it was such a frustrating experience last time around. The version of GnuPG shipped with Edgy seems to have the driver for the Cardman 4040 in it, which meant that running “gpg –card-status” worked. Well, sort of. It wouldn’t be totally straight-forward, would it? It only worked as root. Running as a normal user returned a pcscd related error. Given that the GnuPG internal driver for the Cardman 4040 doesn’t use pcscd this was a bit puzzling. Then I worked out that GnuPG was simply failing to access the device node so falling back to trying a pcscd interface. Then failing there too.

I worked out that the device node used for the Cardman 4040 is /dev/cmx0, which was read and writeable only by root. Thanks to tip in this blog post, I was able to configure udev to assign the device node some more appropriate permissions. Then it worked as me! The Smartcard management utility in Thunderbird even worked without any further fiddling. I’ve still not tried it using my USB card reader, which I think will be more of a battle.

I followed the HOWTO to set my card up with subkeys of my existing GPG key. Well, I started to. I could set my name on the card and set my gender (phew!) but gnupg segfaults when generating the signature key. (The preceeding authentication key is generated succesfully.)

So, progress. But not much. I’ll be waiting for Feisty then.

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    One Response to Slow progress with the OpenPGP smartcard

    1. Tony says:

      This bug report describes the problem and gives a work around: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnupg/+bug/78120