Category Archives: Docs

Status crypto cards HOWTO: problems with the card reader (support could be better)

After hours (spread over weeks) I come to the conclusion that there is a lot of potential to improve the documentation of card readers (but I doubt the card reader vendors will do it) and of the pcsc documentation. It is not easy to arrive at a point where you understand everything. The compatibility list does not help much, as the card readers are partly past their end of life and the models which replace them are not listed. Respectively the one I bought does not support all the features I need. I even ported the driver to FreeBSD (not committed, I wanted to test everything first) and a lot of stuff works, but one critical part is that I can not store a certificate on the crypto card as the card reader or the driver  does not support extended APDUs (needed to transfer more than 255 bytes to the card reader).

Well, the status so far:

  • I have a HOWTO what to install to use crypto cards in FreeBSD
  • I have a HOWOT what to install / configure in Windows
  • I have a HOWTO regarding creating keys on a openpgp v2 card and how to use this key with ssh on FreeBSD (or any other unix-like OS which can run pcsc)
  • I have a card reader which does not support extended APDUs
  • I want to make sure what I write in the HOWTOs is also suitable for the use with Windows / PuTTY
  • it seems Windows needs a certificate and not only a key when using the Windows CAPI (using the vendor supplied card reader driver) in PuTTY-CSC (works at work with a USB token)
  • the pcsc pkcs11 Windows DLL is not suitable yet for use on Windows 8 64bit
  • I contacted the card reader vendor if the card reader or the driver is the problem regarding the extended APDUs
  • I found problems in gpg4win / pcsc on Windows 8
  • I have send some money to the developers of gpg4win to support their work (if you use gnupg on Windows, try to send a few units of money to them, the work stagnated as they need to spend their time for paid work)

So either I need a new card reader, or have to wait for an update of the linux driver of the vendor… which probably means it may be a lot faster to buy a new card reader. When looking for one with at least a PIN pad, I either do not find anything which is listed as supported by pcsc on the vendor pages (it is incredible how hard it is to navigate the websites of some companies… a lot of buzzwords but no way to get to the real products), or they only list updated models where I do not know if they will work.

When I have something which works with FreeBSD and Windows, I will publish all the HOWTOs here at once.


More drivers available in the FreeBSD-kernel doxygen docs

Yesterday I committed some more configs to generate doxygen documentation of FreeBSD-kernel drivers. I mechanically generated missing configs for subdirectories of src/sys/dev/. This means there is no dependency information included in the configs, and as such you will not get links e.g. to the PCI documentation, if a driver calls functions in the PCI driver (feel free to tell me about such dependencies).

If  you want to generate the HTML or PDF version of some subsystem, just go to src/tools/kerneldoc/subsys/ an run “make


In this post I write how to install FreeBSD on a remote linux system by creating a root image prepared for mirroring on a local system. There is no (free) access to the remote console, only access via ssh.

Background story

While I was at the university, I worked remotely for an ISP (administration of several FreeBSD systems). During this time I started to use my own domain, and I was allowed to host it directly at the ISP for free. I tried to not use too much space on the harddisk (at the end about 400 MB) and to not provide something which attracted too much people to keep the bandwith on a sane level. After the university I was still available to answer questions, and I was still allowed to host my website there for free. As the number of questions can be counted with IIRC one hand since then, I decided at some point (recently, to be exact

Daily doxygen generated docs of the FreeBSD kernel (head)

I managed to get some time to setup an automated generation of the doxygen docs for kernel subsystems of FreeBSD on my webserver.

Every night/morning (German timezone) the sources will be updated, and the docs get regenerated (this takes some time). Currently this depends upon some patches to the makefile and doxygen config files in tools/kerneldoc/subsys. Everything is generated directly in the place where the webserver will look for to deliver the pages, so if you browse this in the middle of the generation, the content may not be consistent (yet).

Please be nice to the webserver and do not mirror this. You can generate this yourself very easy. Assuming you have the FreeBSD source on a local hard disk, you just need to download the patch from (if you do not find dox.diff, update your FreeBSD sources and everything will be OK), apply the patch, cd into tools/kerneldoc/subsys and run