Fingerprint and XScreenSaver

Today I configured the fingerprint reader on my Thinkpad X201. I will not describe the process of configuring the fingerprint reader on FreeBSD as it has been documented many times on the Internet. Though if you want I may describe the process in a separate article, just tell me.

After the configuration, everybody from the display manager to su asked to authenticate with the reader. So it was fine. Except for xscreensaver which still confined itself password authentification. There were no configuration for xscreensaver in /etc/pam.d so I initially thought that it fell back on the “other” configuration. Therefore I added one for xscreensaver but it didn’t change anything.

However I installed xscreensaver as a package, and not from the ports. It turns out that the xscreensaver package does not enable the PAM option. You can check that via pkg info xscreensaver or use ldd /usr/local/bin/xscreensaver to check if xscreensaver is effectively linked with

So you can reinstall xscreensaver from the ports and configure it with the PAM option enabled. However I still wonder why they disabled this by default. I still have a problem with PAM which sometime does not detect the reader and cannot even authenticate with pam_unix. I don’t know what is the cause of this, but I’ll find out.