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European Unix Platform (EUP): An introduction to smartcards on Linux

Oct 08, 2000, 14:10 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Armijn Hemel)


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"In this short article we'll have a look at the world of smartcards. First we'll determine what smartcards are in general. After that we'll focus on one specific type of card: the JavaCard. We'll briefly show what the capabilities of this card are and what tools there are around to develop your own stuff for the JavaCard. At the end I will include some links to (Linux) smartcard resources."

"Smartcards are plastic cards (like creditcards), with a small CPU and some memory in it. Although some people say that magnetic swipe cards like the classical credit cards and bank cards are also smartcards, we don't (the last few years most credit cards and bank cards also got a CPU on it, therefor making it a smartcard. Confusing eh?). A smartcard must contain a CPU Apart from a CPU there's also a small amount of RAM included, varying from 4k to 64 k (yes, that's kilobytes)."

"The JavaCard is a special type of smartcard: it contains a small embedded Java Virtual Machine. This Virtual Machine allows to run small Java programs on the card. It will require to limit the size of your Java bytecode though. When I learnt about these cards I also wondered how to fit a Java program in just 16k or 64k of RAM. Java has got a reputation for being memory hungry."

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