pcscd [options]


-a, --apdu

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

-c, --config file

Specifies the file file as an alternate location for /etc/reader.conf.d/reader.conf.

-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

maximum number of threads (default 200).

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

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

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

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 rescan the USB buses for added or removed readers and re-read the /etc/reader.conf.d/reader.conf file to detect added or removed non-USB readers (serial or PCMCIA).

-x, --auto-exit

pcscd will quit after 60 seconds of inactivity. This is used when pcscd os 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.


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.


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

Some drivers are available at


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


/etc/reader.conf.d/reader.conf : Reader configuration file

/var/run/pcscd/ : process id of the running pcscd

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


bundleTool(8), reader.conf(5), syslog(3)


David Corcoran <[email protected]> and Ludovic Rousseau <[email protected]>