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How to enable fingerprint scanner support on Linux

Fingerprint scanners are becoming a thing on many laptops as of late. It’s natural that this technology makes its way to the PC, given that it’s worked so well on smartphones. When it comes to Fingerprint scanner support on Linux, it’s hit and miss. Not all hardware manufacturers ship Linux drivers, and the community doesn’t always pick up the slack. That said, if you have a fingerprint scanner that is supported with Linux, here’s how to use it on your Linux system.

Note: if your fingerprint scanner requires installing Linux drivers not included in the kernel, be sure to get them installed before attempting to use Fingerprint GUI.

Install Fingerprint GUI

Fingerprint GUI is the best tool available to access, configure, and enable fingerprint scanning on Linux. Although it’s the best tool available, no Linux OS currently ships with this application. As a result, you must manually install it before using it.

There are different ways to install Fingerprint GUI based on the Linux distribution you are using. To get it working, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the installation instructions based on what OS you use.


On Ubuntu Linux, the best way to get Fingerprint GUI working is to use the third-party PPA that is available on Launchpad. To add this PPA, use the add-apt-repository command in the terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fingerprint/fingerprint-gui

With the PPA added to Ubuntu, run the update command to refresh your PC’s software sources.

sudo apt update

Following the update, install any pending software patches with the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Finally, install Fingerprint GUI, and the related packages it needs to operate correctly.

sudo apt-get install libbsapi policykit-1-fingerprint-gui fingerprint-gui

Debian 10

Debian 10 users can use the Ubuntu 18.04 repository provided on Launchpad to get the Fingerprint GUI app installed. To add it, open up a terminal and use the add-apt-repository command.

Note: it isn’t known if Fingerprint GUI works on Debian 9. If you need this app, consider upgrading to Debian 10 first.

su -
add-apt-repository 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/fingerprint/fingerprint-gui/ubuntu bionic main'

After adding the software repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list file, it’s time to download the software key file, so that Debian can interact with the PPA. If you don’t do this, Fingerprint GUI will not install!

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv EFD5FA852F20733F

Assuming the key recovery command works successfully, the PPA will be ready to use on Debian. Next, run the update and upgrade commands to download the release file for the repo.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Finally, install the packages necessary to run Fingerprint GUI on Debian.

sudo apt-get install libbsapi policykit-1-fingerprint-gui fingerprint-gui

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, getting the Fingerprint GUI involves downloading the program and compiling it through an AUR package. To install the AUR package of Fingerprint GUI, start by using the Pacman package manager to install both the Git and Base-devel packages.

Note: if you run into problems installing the Fingerprint GUI AUR package, be sure to read the comment section of the app for tips, tricks, and fixes to get it running.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Following the installation of the Git and Base-devel packages, use the Git tool to download the Trizen AUR helper app, to make installing Fingerprint GUI, and it’s many dependencies an easy process.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

Move the terminal session into the newly created “trizen” folder and install the Trizen application on your Arch Linux PC.

cd trizen
makepkg -sri

After installing the Trizen application on Arch, you’ll be able to use it to quickly install Fingerprint GUI, along with all of its dependent packages.

trizen -S fingerprint-gui


Though Fedora proper doesn’t support Fingerprint GUI, the RPM Sphere software repository has it available for users of Fedora 29 and 30. To get it working, open up a terminal and use the dnf install command below.

sudo dnf install https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rpmsphere/x86_64/master/f/fingerprint-gui-1.09-3.1.x86_64.rpm


Fingerprint GUI is available to OpenSUSE users, so long as they’re using Tumbleweed. So, before attempting to install this package, be sure to upgrade to the Tumbleweed release.
After you’re done upgrading OpenSUSE, use the following commands to get the application working,

zypper addrepo http://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/hardware/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ hardware

zypper install fingerprint-gui

Configure Fingerprint GUI

Setting up Fingerprint GUI starts by opening up the application and clicking on “Devices.” From there, look for the “Fingerprint Devices” drop-down menu and click it to select your Fingerprint scanner device.

After selecting a fingerprint device, click “Finger,” and choose a finger to add to Fingerprint GUI. Then, locate “Scan/Verify” and follow the instructions to scan your finger. Once the scanning is done, go to “Settings” and click the “Export now” button. This will export your scanned fingerprint.

With your fingerprint added to the Fingerprint GUI application, reboot your Linux PC, and you should be able to log in with your fingerprint!

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