Open Source CueCat Related
Software and Documentation

So, what is this stuff all about? Why am I mirroring these documents and software? John Kew <> published an essay on his CueCat Mirror Page which does an excellent job explaining the background of the CueCat, why this software came into existence, and why mirror sites likes this one are so important. John also maintains a list of other mirror sites, from which the software found on this page was obtained. If you know of additional software which is not listed here, please drop me a line. Or, if you know of other mirror sites which are not listed on John's page, please let him know.

Documentation, Miscellaneous Text, and Links

- A list of CueCat mirror sites, maintained by John Kew. The master copy can be found at

- The Original Slashdot Article announcing the CueCat availability at Radio Shack, posted on August 22, 2000.

- The Cease and Desist Slashdot Article, posted on September 1, 2000.

- A copy of Cease and Desist letter that Michael Rothwell received from Digital Convergence. Page 1, and 2.

- Digital Convergence's response to Slashdot regarding the backlash they received from the Open Source community, posted on September 5, 2000.

- upc.txt, a table to decode the CueCat output. Original author unknown, possibly from

- Zarf's book-list can be found at

- Digital Convergence's CueCat home page.

Software Mirrored Locally

author local copy original location

Pierre-Philippe Coupard
<pierre at>

Linux patch again the 2.2.16 kernel to provide a driver which watches and decodes keyboard scans from the CueCat device. When a barcode is successfully decoded, it is sent in human-readable form to /dev/cuecat. As well as the kernel driver, a utility called CueAct is included which can read barcodes from the driver and look up relevant information about them from the Internet.

Michael Rothwell
<rothwell at>
(aka cuecat-decoder-latest.tgz)

Decodes CueCat scans into usable serial number, type, and barcode data. It reads from standard input or converts the first argument, and does not alter keyboard operation nor does it require a kernel patch. It also includes a simple Gnome panel applet that processes scans and, if an ISBN number is scanned, opens the suggested Cue URL in Netscape. The command-line tool returns barcode, Cue, and Amazon data.

See also what Michael told Slashdot about his code on September 1, 2000.

Kevin Fowlks
<fowlks at>

Perl library functions to decode CueCat strings, with additional code to calculate ISBN check digits.

Jonathan D. Rosebaugh
<skiprosebaugh at>

A modification of Pierre-Philippe Coupard's code (above). Prints any informational messages to standard error, and prints only the barcodes to standard output. Recommend you use as "read_cuecat | uniq > barcodes.txt". Standard out is in the format for Zarf's book-list programs. Please note that if you're using Zarf's book-scanning programs, the only barcodes that are valid are of type IBN, IB5, and UA5. If you should scan a UPA, that won't work.

Information about Zarf's book-list can be found at

Jonathan D. Rosebaugh
<skiprosebaugh at>

Perl code which reads CueCat scans from standard input, and return the Serial number of the device, the type of code scanned, and the payload.

Jonathan D. Rosebaugh
<skiprosebaugh at>

Python code which reads CueCat scans from standard input, and return the Serial number of the device, the type of code scanned, and the payload.

Daniel Hull
<raygundan at>

A CueCat decoder written in JavaScript. Usage information is included in the HTML.

Andrew Stellman
<roo at>

"Quick and dirty" Perl script to decode CueCat barcode scans.

(Unknown) decode.txt

Perl CGI script to decode the ISBN numbers of books and search online retailers.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 05-Sep-2000 18:46:32 EDT
© 2000 Michael C. Toren <>

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