PCSC/Ada provides an Ada binding to PC/SC-middleware. The library allows programs written in Ada to communicate with smart cards using the SCard API.

PC/SC is a specification for SmartCard integration in computing environment. PC/SC is implemented in Microsoft Windows 200x/XP and available under Microsoft Windows NT/9x. A free implementation of PC/SC, PC/SC Lite, is available under Linux and bundled with Mac OS X.


Copyright (C) 2008-2014 Reto Buerki

PCSC/Ada is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the
terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software
Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later


Release version

The current release version of PCSC/Ada is available at http://www.codelabs.ch/download/.

Verify a Release

To verify the integrity and authenticity of the distribution tarball, import the key http://www.codelabs.ch/keys/0xBB793815pub.asc and type the following command:

$ gpg --verify libpcscada-{version}.tar.bz2.sig

The key fingerprint of the public key (0xBB793815) is:

Key fingerprint = A2FB FF56 83FB 67D8 017B  C50C F8C5 F8B5 BB79 3815

Development version

The current development version of PCSC/Ada is available through its git repository:

$ git clone http://git.codelabs.ch/git/pcscada.git

A browsable version of the repository is available here: http://git.codelabs.ch/?p=pcscada.git


To compile PCSC/Ada on your system, you need the following libraries/frameworks installed:

The build process of PCSC/Ada is quite easy and straightforward. Just type in the following commands:

$ tar xjf libpcscada-{revision}.tar.bz2
$ cd libpcscada-{revision}
$ make

If no errors occur during the build process, you have now successfully built the PCSC/Ada library from sources.


Before you install PCSC/Ada on your system, you might want to test the library and verify that everything works as expected. PCSC/Ada contains both a unit test suite and an integration test application. To run the unit tests of PCSC/Ada, just type:

$ make utests

This will run all Ahven based unit tests. All tests should be marked with PASS behind the test name. To run the integration tests of PCSC/Ada, you need to have at least one smart card reader and one smart card ready. Type the following command to run the integration tests:

$ make itests

This will run an Ada implementation of the pcsc-lite testpcsc binary used to test the pcsc-lite framework. If no exception arises, you should be good to go. If you really want make sure everything is alright, compare the output of make itests with the output when running testpcsc for a given card / reader combination.


To install PCSC/Ada on your system, type the following:

$ make PREFIX=/usr/local install

You must be root to install the library system wide. If no PREFIX is specified, $(HOME)/libraries is used as install destination.


The PCSC/Ada example code demonstrates the usage of the PCSC/Ada API. To build all example applications, type the following:

$ make examples

You can start an example application like so: obj/examples/pinpad. The following paragraphs introduce each example application briefly. Also, a code snippet is presented on how to establish a PC/SC context, connect to the first reader of a system and then send some arbitrary command to the smart card.


This example application is a simple implementation of a reader monitor using the Reader_Monitor task provided by PCSC/Ada. After startup, cardd will observe all smart card readers of a system for status changes (e.g. card inserted, card removed). It will print out information if states of readers change.


This small application will perform a SPE (secure pin entry) operation with a given card / reader. It will first check if the reader supports this operation and will exit if not. If it does support SPE, the user is asked to enter the PIN of a given smart card by using the pinpad of the smart card reader. The result of the operation is displayed after completion.


The thin_example binary (obj/examples/thin_example) can be used to test the thin binding of PCSC/Ada. You need to adopt the reader name Reader_Name in examples/thin/thin_example.adb to make this test app work.


with PCSC.SCard;

use PCSC;

procedure Sample is
   Context : SCard.Context;
   --  PC/SC context
   Card    : SCard.Card;
   --  Card handle
   Readers : SCard.Reader_ID_Set;
   --  Set of readers

   --  Establish context

   SCard.Establish_Context (Context => Context,
                            Scope   => SCard.Scope_System);

   --  List readers

   Readers := SCard.List_Readers (Context => Context);

   --  Connect to first reader

   SCard.Connect (Context => Context,
                  Card    => Card,
                  Reader  => Readers.First_Item,
                  Mode    => SCard.Share_Shared);

   --  Send APDU to card

      Recv_Buffer : SCard.Byte_Set (1 .. 10);
      Send_Buffer : constant SCard.Byte_Set
        := (16#00#, 16#A4#, 16#00#, 16#00#, 16#02#, 16#3F#, 16#00#);
      Recv_Length : Natural := 0;
      Recv_PCI    : SCard.IO_Request;
      SCard.Transmit (Card        => Card,
                      Send_Buffer => Send_Buffer,
                      Recv_Pci    => Recv_PCI,
                      Recv_Buffer => Recv_Buffer,
                      Recv_Len    => Recv_Length);

   --  Disconnect

   SCard.Disconnect (Card   => Card,
                     Action => SCard.Reset_Card);

   --  Release context

   SCard.Release_Context (Context => Context);
end Sample;