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Revision as of 21:50, 1 February 2019 by Acegallagher (talk | contribs) (Added information on how to test IR cameras before attempting ut utilize howdy)
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Howdy is a program that imitates Windows Hello on Linux. It uses a computer's IR sensors and camera to verify a user's face.


Install the howdyAUR package.


Setup Howdy to start when needed

In order for Howdy to authenticate a user, a small change must be added to any PAM configuration file where Howdy might want to be used. The following line must be added to any configuration file:

auth sufficient /lib/security/howdy/


# PAM-1.0
auth    sufficient /lib/security/howdy/
auth    include    system-auth
account include    system-auth
session include    system-auth

Add correct IR sensor

Determine the correct /dev/videoX file connected to the IR sensor. This can be done through various programs such as cheese and fswebcamAUR. Once the correct filename is found, edit /lib/security/howdy/config.ini using either your preferred editor or with sudo howdy config.

Note: gedit must be installed for sudo howdy config to work.

Add face to Howdy

In order to add a face model to Howdy, run sudo howdy add.


Testing your IR camera

It can be useful to first make verify that your IR camera functions correctly. A set of 10 jpg photos can be taken to test your device using the gstreamer package with the following command (replacing /dev/video0 with the location of your IR camera):

gst-launch-1.0 v4l2src device=/dev/video0 num-buffers=10 ! image/jpeg ! multifilesink location="frame-%02d.jpg"

Howdy does not seem to work

Verify that Howdy is properly working by running howdy test as root. If that seems to work, check any PAM configuration files and verify they are working. Some programs, such as SDDM [1], do not work properly with PAM, which may result in unexpected results.

Errors recognizing an input device

Some IR sensors (for example of the Thinkpad T480) need to have the frame width and height defined in the configuration file:

frame_width = 400
frame_height = 400

The width and height of your sensor output: v4l2-ctl --list-devices --all.