Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mac OS X Lion and smart cards status

The new major version of Mac OS X is now available: code name Lion, version 10.7.

Mac OS X Lion


The version returned by pcscd has not changed. It is still 1.4.0.

$ /usr/sbin/pcscd -v
PCSC Framework version 1.4.0.
Copyright (C) 1999-2002 by David Corcoran <>.
Copyright (C) 2001-2005 by Ludovic Rousseau <>.
Copyright (C) 2003-2004 by Damien Sauveron <>.
Portions Copyright (C) 2000-2007 by Apple Inc.
Report bugs to <>.

But the version from the header file indicates Apple now provides a version from the project.

$ grep '$Id' /System/Library/Frameworks/PCSC.framework/Headers/pcsclite.h
* $Id: pcsclite.h 123 2010-03-27 10:50:42Z $

The version from the SmartCard Services macosforge project has mainly be contributed by myself.

The subversion revision 123 is not the latest one. It is dated 03/27/2010 03:50:42 (17 months ago). But no bugs has been fixed since this version (on macosforge). The current SVN version (on macosforge) is 139.

Bugs fixed

I extracted the major changes from the subversion history. The release number points to the change in the repository (if you need more details).

  • [r28] /trunk/SmartCardServices/src/PCSC/atrhandler.c: resynch with pcsc-lite. Closes bug rdar://problem/6920676 Smart cards defining support of T=0 and T=15 (but not T=1) in their ATR can't be used since pcscd tells the driver to use T=1 and the card does not support that protocol.
  • [r76] /trunk/SmartCardServices/src/PCSC/wintypes.h: remove the deprecated warning on LPTSTR and LPCTSTR since they are the documented types for Windows WinSCard API This will remove compilation warnings on cross OS applications
  • [r93] /trunk/SmartCardServices/src/PCSC/readerfactory.c: RFAddReader(): remove an extra call to EHSpawnEventHandler() Fixes rdar://5697379 "pcscd does not correctly support multi-slot smart card readers"
  • [r94]
    /trunk/SmartCardServices/src/PCSC/readerfactory.c: RFAwakeAllReaders(): restart all the slots of a reader, not just the first one, when the computer comes back from hibernation
  • [r98] /trunk/SmartCardServices/src/PCSC/atrhandler.c:
    TRDecodeAtr(): check for TA2 (specific mode) even if TD2 is not present
    "3F 80 10 01" was not parsed correctly for example and T=0 was used
    instead of T=1 (specific mode)
    Same patch as revision 4615 in upstream pcsc-lite

The bugs were either Mac OS X specific or already fixed in pcsc-lite "upstream".

CCID driver

The CCID driver also has been updated. Snow Leopard provided the version 1.3.8 of my CCID driver. Lion now provides version 1.3.11. See the upstream README file for changes.
Version 1.3.11 was released on 28 July 2009 (2 years ago) and is not the latest version available (1.4.4 as of today).

Issues and limitations

i386 driver

The driver is (still) a i386 binary only. Even if Lion does not support 32-bits CPU any more the CCID driver is not available as a 64-bits binary.

$ file /usr/libexec/SmartCardServices/drivers/ifd-ccid.bundle/Contents/MacOS/libccid.dylib.1.3.11
/usr/libexec/SmartCardServices/drivers/ifd-ccid.bundle/Contents/MacOS/libccid.dylib.1.3.11: Mach-O dynamically linked shared library i386

The side effect is that pcscd is started by default in 64-bits mode and will then need to restart in 32-bits mode when a CCID reader is connected.

/SourceCache/SmartCardServices/SmartCardServices-55000/src/PCSC/readerfactory.c:1545:ReaderCheckArchitecture() Send respawn signal to pcscd (pid=803)
/SourceCache/SmartCardServices/SmartCardServices-55000/src/PCSC/pcscdaemon.c:678:signal_respawn() Got signal to respawn in 32 bit mode
/SourceCache/SmartCardServices/SmartCardServices-55000/src/PCSC/pcscdaemon.c:294:SVCServiceRunLoop() Preparing to exit...

Maybe Apple will "fix" this in a next 10.7.x update and before the Lion+1 version.

Gemalto Prox DU reader

The Gemalto Prox DU reader is a dual-CCID reader (the reader is composite with two CCID interfaces). Its support has been aded in the CCID driver version 1.3.11. So it is supported by default in Mac OS X Lion.

Apple version of pcsc-lite does not support such composite devices. So the CCID driver contains a trick to simulate a dual-slot reader instead. This is enabled using the ./configure --enable-composite-as-multislot option. Unfortunately Apple has not built the driver with this option (and I can't blame Apple for not using an obscure option). So only the first CCID interface is available.

In Snow Leopard the Gemalto Prox DU reader was not supported so a new driver had to be installed. If configured correctly both CCID interfaces are available.
In Lion the reader is supported by default but only the first CCID interface is available. Installing another driver compiled with the correct option will not solve the problem since the reader is already supported by the default CCID driver. pcscd will use the first driver it find supporting a given smart card reader.
A solution is to remove the Gemalto Prox DU from the list of supported readers from the CCID driver provided by default and install a new driver just for the Gemalto Prox DU driver. But I don't like modifying files provided by others (Apple in this case).


The good news is that Apple has updated the PC/SC layer provided in Mac OS X Lion (versus the one provided in Snow Leopard). The SmartCard Services project was a good idea since Apple reused the code from this project. Apple has then out-sourced the maintenance of pcsc-lite.