pcscd - Man Page

PC/SC Smart Card Daemon




-a,  --apdu

log APDUs and SW using the debug method (see --debug).

-c,  --config dir

Specifies the directory dir as an alternate location for /etc/reader.conf.d/. The argument can also be a single configuration file (for backward compatibility).

-f,  --foreground

Runs pcscd in the foreground and sends log messages to stderr instead of syslog(3).

-T,  --color

force use of colored logs.

-d,  --debug

use the lowest log level. Any log message of this level or above will be sent to stderr or syslog(3) depending on the use of --foreground.


use info log level. This is the default log level.

-e,  --error

use error log level.

-C,  --critical

use critical log level.

The log levels are ordered as: debug < info < error < critical. Use a log level l will log this level and all the levels above it.


ignore the IFD_GENERATE_HOTPLUG reader capability

-t,  --max-thread number

maximum number of threads (default 200).

This is the maximum number of clients (SCardEstablishContext) that pcscd can handle.

-s,  --max-card-handle-per-thread number

maximum number of card handle per thread (default: 200).

This is the maximum number of card handle (SCardConnect) per client (SCardEstablishContext).

-r,  --max-card-handle-per-reader number

maximum number of card handle per reader (default: 200)

This is the maximum number of card handle (SCardConnect) per reader.

-h,  --help

Displays information about the pcscd command line

-v,  --version

Displays the program version number

-H,  --hotplug

Ask pcscd to re-read the /etc/reader.conf.d/my_reader.conf files to detect added or removed non-USB readers (serial or PCMCIA).

-x,  --auto-exit

pcscd will quit after 60 seconds of inactivity after the release of the last PC/SC context. This is used when pcscd is started on demand by systemd.

-S,  --reader-name-no-serial

Do not include the USB serial number in the reader name.

-I,  --reader-name-no-interface

Do not include the USB interface name in the reader name.


Ignore polkit rules. All accesses are allowed.


pcscd is the daemon program for pcsc-lite. It is a resource manager that coordinates communications with smart card readers and smart cards and cryptographic tokens that are connected to the system.

It allows applications to access smart cards and readers using the WinSCard API but without knowing details of the card or reader.

pcscd coordinates the loading of drivers for card readers.

Serial Smart Card Reader Drivers

Smart card reader drivers are placed in the /usr/lib64/pcsc/drivers directory. Each driver is simply an .so file.  pcscd locates the driver using the /etc/reader.conf.d/my_reader.conf files.  See the reader.conf(5) manual page for more information.

Some drivers are available at https://muscle.apdu.fr/musclecard.com/drivers.html.

USB Smart Card Reader Drivers

USB smart card reader drivers are located in /usr/lib64/pcsc/drivers directory as a bundle. You shall NOT add a USB driver in a /etc/reader.conf.d/my_reader.conf file.

Configuration File

It is possible to set arguments that will be used by pcscd with the configuration file /etc/default/pcscd For example you can increase the debug level using:


Or set environment variables like:


See https://blog.apdu.fr/posts/2021/08/pcsc-lite-configuration-using/ for more details.


/etc/default/pcscd : daemon configuration file

/etc/reader.conf.d/* : Serial reader configuration files

/run/pcscd/pcscd.pid : process id of the running pcscd

/usr/lib64/pcsc/drivers/ : directory containing bundles for USB drivers

See Also

reader.conf(5), syslog(3)


David Corcoran <corcoran@musclecard.com> and Ludovic Rousseau <ludovic.rousseau@free.fr>

Referenced By

ATR_analysis.1p(1), pcscd_selinux(8), pcsc_scan(1), pcsc-spy(1), reader.conf(5), scriptor.1p(1).

December 2021 Muscle PC/SC Lite