I installed the following packages:

  • libusb-dev
  • libusb++-0.1-4c2
  • libccid
  • pcscd
  • libpcsclite1
  • libpcsclite-dev
  • List item
  • libpcsc-perl
  • pcsc-tools

But when I send the pcsc_scan command I received the below output :

root@bt:/# pcsc_scan
PC/SC device scanner
V 1.4.16 (c) 2001-2009, Ludovic Rousseau <ludovic.rousseau@free.fr>
Compiled with PC/SC lite version: 1.5.3
SCardEstablishContext: Service not available.


Note: I use BackTrack5

2 Answers 2


It look like your pcscd is not running (service pcscd start).

  • I executed this sudo service pcscd start command on Mint LMDE. LED on smart card reader start to flash, but when I type again sudo pcsc_scan it gives me: PC/SC device scanner V 1.4.27 (c) 2001-2011, Ludovic Rousseau <ludovic.rousseau@free.fr> Compiled with PC/SC lite version: 1.8.17 SCardEstablishContext: Service not available.
    – matandked
    Dec 20, 2018 at 3:49
  • systemctl enable pcscd systemctl start pcscd
    – Smile4ever
    Apr 25, 2021 at 10:04

Quick strace pcsc_scan reveals that it tries to open a non-existing file /var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm:

stat("/var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm", 0x7fff315e9dc0) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
SCardEstablishContext: Service not available.
exit_group(-1)                          = ?
+++ exited with 255 +++

And indeed it does not exist:

$ ls /var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm
ls: cannot access '/var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm': No such file or directory

This is because there are two parts of pcscd: pcscd.service and pcscd.socket, where the latter is responsible for that missing file. Therefore, the proper solution will be:

sudo systemctl restart pcscd.socket


$ ls /var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm
ls: cannot access '/var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm': No such file or directory
$ sudo systemctl restart pcscd.socket
$ ls /var/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm

Now you can properly enjoy your pcsc_scan.

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