Facial recognition software may be nothing new but did you know you can use your regular ol’ webcam to log in to your Ubuntu desktop?

Logging in to Ubuntu with nothing more than a smile is possible using the pam-face-authentication utility which was specifically designed for regular everyday users to use.


The following PPA serves both Ubuntu 10.04 and Ubuntu 10.10 users and makes installation of both the pam tool and its dependencies a breeze.

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter in the following two lines carefully.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:antonio.chiurazzi/ppa

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pam-face-authentication

Now run the ‘Face Trainer’ application from the Applications > Other menu.

Add face-login to GDM

Now to add the face authentication module to GDM, Ubuntu’s default login-manager:

sudo sed -i '1i auth sufficient pam_face_authentication.so enableX' /etc/pam.d/gdm

sudo sed -i '1i auth sufficient pam_face_authentication.so enableX' /etc/pam.d/gnome-screensaver

Depending on your webcam model/make you may need to install and add libv4l to preload:

  • Create the file /etc/ld.so.preload
  • Paste in the path to the v411compat.so file commonly found in /usr/lib/libv4l
Apps Download facialrecognition gdm tips webcam