Installing the Belgian Electronic ID card reader on Ubuntu 11.10

This is mainly a note to self, hence the style.  It is posted here in the hope that others may find it useful.

  • Context: Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit version
  • Card reader: ACS38 (the “standard” one)

Useful documentation source: Many thanks to its author. This got me starting.

1. Install drivers for the card reader and daemon for accessing them

sudo apt-get install libacr38u libacr38ucontrol0 pcscd pcsc-tools libpcsclite-dev

(Re) Start the daemon :

sudo /etc/init.d/pcscd restart

2. Install the Sun Java machine

The open source one will not work

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

3.  Get the latest middleware and viewer from Google code

Do not use the Ubuntu repos. They have version 3.5.2. Adjust the URLs below to the current version



sudo dpkg –i eid-mw_4.0.0r925_amd64.deb 

sudo dpkg –I eid-viewer_4.0.0r71_amd64.deb

4. Test if the card can be read

Either look for the “eID card reader” application or type “eid-viewer” in a terminal  session.
insert the ID card in the reader: Your picture and data should be displayed

5. Configuration of Firefox

Caveat: other browsers (Chromium) are not supported at this time.

  • Install this add-on:
  • Restart firefox
  • Launch it again and go to Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Encryption
  • Under “Security devices”, unload the existing “Belgium Identity Card PKCS#11”
  • Load a new device. I called it “Belgian ID” (the name seems unimportant) . The module filename should be “/usr/lib/”
  • Under certificates -> authorities, check the trust on the “Belgium Root CA2” certificate. All check boxes should be checked.
  • Restart Firefox, just to be in the safe side

6. AppArmor

AppArmor does not expect an Firefox to access a card reader. Hence, add to /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.firefox (after “for networking”)

# for BeID:
/var/run/pcscd/pcscd.* r,
/tmp/* ix,

Save and run

sudo apparmor_parser -r /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.firefox

 7. Test it in firefox

Try accessing the National Register:

Fill your tax form online:

  1. Thanks Patrick, for this quick guide, really helped setting up my card reader and access government applications in a couple of minutes.


  2. Thanks for this guide. It worked for me with a few small changes.

    I downloaded the latest version for the correct platform of eid-mw_4.0.0r_.deb from And the same thing for eid-viewer_4.0.0r_.deb from

    I also did not change the security devices for firefox.

    Again, thank you for posting this.

    – Paul –

  3. Thanks.
    I didn’t install the sun jre but everything is working fine. Also, downloaded de mw and viewer via chromium in stead of wget.
    (ubuntu 11.10 x64)
    I will post your page on my Google+ as some friend will be interested!

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