How to use the gnupg card with an akasa smart card reader?

Chris Knadle Chris.Knadle at
Fri Aug 27 04:36:58 CEST 2010

On Thursday 26 August 2010 16:52:24 David Mohr wrote:
> Hi,
> I recently bought a gnupg smart card (kudos to the organizers of
> Froscon). I own an internal smart card reader made by akasa (AK-ICR-05).
> Unfortunately it doesn't work with gnupg out of the box, and I have no
> idea how to get it going.
> I contacted the manufacturer and of course they don't have Linux support
> but they were able to tell me that it uses an RTS5161 chipset. I wasn't
> able to find anything using google about it...

> lsusb -v says:
> ---SNIP---
> Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0bda:0161 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. Mass

What version of gnupg are you using, and what Linux version/distro are you 

In the meantime... someone was able to get this device /almost/ working:

Note that this was done using a Linux kernel version 2.6.31 on Ubuntu 9.10

Apparently this same RTS5161 chip is also in some IR remote control devices.

I did some digging to try to figure out when the device was supported by 
GNU/Linux, which seems to happen on Debian/Ubuntu via the 'usbutils' package.

As best I can tell, device 0bda:0161 was added to Greg Kroah-Hartman's git 
usbutils repository (at URL git:// in commit 
f7c66c505dc470c841792f19901ef901308168a7 by David Brownwell on Jun 5, 2008.

So since it's been in the usb.ids since June, 2008, any relatively recent 
usbutils package that's newer than that should at least support the chip... at 
least in theory.

  -- Chris


Chris Knadle
Chris.Knadle at
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