EE: Open source ID-card softw…

EE: Open source ID-card software for multiple operating systems


The Estonian government's Informatics Centre (RIA, Riigi Infosüsteemide Arenduskeskus) has last week published two more versions of its open source software to enable users of Mac OS X and GNU/Linux easy access to their electronic identity card.

"With the help of the public test version of the new ID-card software, users of Linux and Mac can now log in to web sites, sign documents, and change the PIN-codes of their ID-cards", the RIA explained in a statement.

The newly available applications offers GNU/Linux and Mac users a graphic utility as well as a document signing tool for their ID-cards.  The application is provided for users of the several common GNU/Linux distributions, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu and Opensuse. The download web site moreover provides detailed installation instructions for all of these distributions.  The RIA is also using open source for providing the down load website itself, using the project management software Trac.

In the statement, Kalle Arula, RIA deputy director, explains that users of GNU/Linux and Mac OS X are now able to sign electronic documents and work offline with electronically signed documents. They can also manage their ID-card and authenticate themselves online.  RIA expects that over time the use of the e-ID card will increase, for instances once banks and other businesses have adapted their online processes.

Estonia has been issuing ID cards starting in January 2002. The card is a mandatory ID document for all Estonian residents from the age of 15. They are issued to all Estonian citizens and to foreigners with a residence permit. The country has issued over one million cards, making it the biggest ID card roll-out in Europe.


The new e-ID card software is partly based on open source software developed in the OpenSC open smart card project. The development was supported by the EU Regional Development Fund. The application was developed by the Estonian IT company Smartlink. One of the developers, Kalev Lember, commented: "It is an early release and work in progress, but we felt that it should receive wider testing and feedback from people who care about open source."

The e-ID card application is published under the LGPLv2.

More information:

Informatics Centre (RIA)

e-ID card website

OpenSC open smart card solutions website

Earlier OSOR item

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