2003 | Abstracts

Biometrics and Linux

Alexander Reeder

BiographyBioPaperPaper AudioAudio

Whether it be a corporation, airport, or government agency, biometrics are becoming an extremely popular way of identifying and classifying people. There are many devices which employ biometric methods, such as fingerprint scanners, voice recognition, and retinal scanners. Many companies are producing their own hardware solutions but few are providing Linux drivers. First a brief review of available hardware will be made followed by Linux support of said hardware (which is very rare).

From what was available on the market I choose a fingerprint scanner and commenced work on a Linux driver. Getting documentation to allow me to write such a driver from the parent company is a story within itself, and one I will offer advice on to future adventurers. The next challenge was to write a fingerprint recognition algorithm and comparison method. While these are works in progress they are one of the few GPL'ed fingerprint recognition/verification systems available. The basics of these algorithms and the difficulties behind them will be discussed.

Finally, how can this all be made useful? The Linux model is based on a username/password system. There are fundamental changes that need to be made to the OS for authentication based on biometrics to function seamlessly. Because the authentication daemon will involve an external device there are hooks to the kernel required which can be provided by a device driver. The necessary changes to the kernel and other programs to make a biometric based authentication system feasible on Linux, with the fingerprint solution serving as an example, will be presented.

The original Tux penguin is copyright by Larry Ewing.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.
© 2002 Linux Australia.