Tag Archives: smartcard

VMWare Horizon View Mac client USB Smartcard passthrough

I came across a need to pass through a USB smartcard device to a VM using the VMware Horizon View client for Mac OS. My smart card reader would not show up in the list of devices to redirect to the VM. After doing some research I came across this document which outlines the commands I needed to run:

sudo defaults write com.vmware.viewusb IncludeFamily smart-card
sudo defaults write com.vmware.viewusb AllowSmartcard Enable

You can verify which settings have been applied with the following command:

sudo defaults read com.vmware.viewusb

Success! The client now sees my smartcard reader as an option to pass through to a VM guest.


Configure VMWare View Smartcard in Ubuntu

Recently I’ve been required to use a smart card to log into some servers I manage. Configuring my Linux Mint 17.2 machine to pass my smartcard through to those machines via VMWare View has not been straightforward. This guide will walk you through how to get Smartcard redirection to work with VMWare View in Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, which Linux Mint 17.2 is based off of. Enjoy.


  1. Install the latest version of the VMWare View client (distro versions are often quite out of date) from here
    chmod +x VMware-Horizon-Client-3.5.0-2999900.x64.bundle 
    sudo ./VMware-Horizon-Client-3.5.0-2999900.x64.bundle
  2. Install necessary packages for CommonAccessCard (thanks to this helpful ubuntu writeup)
    sudo apt-get install libpcsclite1 pcscd pcsc-tools
  3. (re)Start the pcscd daemon
    sudo /etc/init.d/pcscd restart
  4. Ensure your smartcard reader is properly identified by running this command:

    If that command is stuck on “Waiting for the first reader…” then you need to install your smartcard drivers. If it sees your smartcard, skip this next step and proceed to step 6.

  5. Install your smartcard driver. This process is different for each card. For the card reader I have (the Identive SCR3500 A Contact Reader), I was able to obtain the drivers after much difficulty from here. The link to the drivers itself are here (alternate link). In my case I was able to untar and run the install script, which worked beautifully.
  6. Install 32 bit compatibility libraries (only applicable for 64 bit installations) thanks to this site for the answer and this one for clarification
    sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y libxml2:i386 libssl1.0.0:i386 libXtst6:i386 libudev1:i386 libpcsclite1:i386 libtheora0:i386 libv4l-0:i386 libpulse0:i386
    sudo ln -sf /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libudev.so.1 /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libudev.so.0
    sudo ln -sf /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libssl.so.1.0.0 /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libssl.so.1.0.1
    sudo ln -sf /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libcrypto.so.1.0.0 /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libcrypto.so.1 
    sudo ln -sf /lib/$(arch)-linux-gnu/libudev.so.1 /lib/$(arch)-linux-gnu/libudev.so.0
  7. (re)Start the vmware-USBArbitrator and vmware-view-USBD services
    sudo /etc/init.d/vmware-USBArbitrator start
    sudo /etc/init.d/vmware-view-USBD start

    For some reason after I did all of this the vmware-view binary was nowhere to be found. It was quite strange. I fixed this issue by removing and re-installing the view client:

    sudo ./VMware-Horizon-Client-3.5.0-2999900.x64.bundle -u vmware-horizon-client
    sudo ./VMware-Horizon-Client-3.5.0-2999900.x64.bundle

    After doing this the binary was there as expected.

  8. Create a config file to instruct the view client to redirect your smartcard reader.
    echo 'viewusb.IncludeFamily = "smart-card"' >> /etc/vmware/config
    echo 'viewusb.AllowSmartcard = "true"' >> /etc/vmware/config

    There is no graphical option to pass devices through like there is in the Windows client. I spent more time than I’d like to admit on this step. It turns out the name of the file is important – it has to simply be called “config.” Place this config file in ~/.vmware (it can also be placed in /etc/vmware/config and/or /usr/lib/vmware/config)

  9. Start vmware-view and enjoy your new smartcard capabilities


If it’s not working, make sure that these services are started

  • pcscd
  • vmware-USBArbitrator
  • vmware-view-USBD

One of these services have been known to crash if you attempt to connect while your smartcard is plugged in. The dance to get around this is to unplug your card reader, re-launch the above services, launch vmware-view, connect to your view server, and then only after you’ve logged in, plug in your card reader.


Update 2/25/2016: Here is the script I use to make my chromebook work beautifully for remoting into work:

sudo /etc/init.d/pcscd restart
sudo /etc/init.d/vmware-USBArbitrator restart
sudo /etc/init.d/vmware-view-USBD restart
setres 1600 1024
setres 2560 1700