In my line of work (sysadmin), I have to deal with a LOT of passwords. For a number of years I was a fan of keepassx, but the upgrade to version 2.0 there didn’t thrill me. (There were some features I liked that it dropped and in general it seemed to be less nice), so I decided to look around and was pointed to pass.

Pass (or password-store as it’s sometimes called) can be found at and in most major Linux distributions package set. (It’s called just pass in fedora). It’s a simple command line tool and uses gnupg and git (if you like). Each of your passwords / sites is a gnupg encrypted file, setup in a tree under ~/.password-store. You can tell pass also to use git here so every change you make it a git commit of encrypted files. So, you should be able to find any old passwords you changed in git history if needed.

Setup is pretty simple:

  • pass init – this sets up the base directory for pass. Note that you can actually add additional gpg keyids to encrypt files to later if you have a team or the like.
  • pass git init – this sets up the git repo

After setup you can use ‘pass insert path/to/name’ to add your own password, ‘pass generate /path/to/name’ to have pass generate a random password for you (using pwgen), ‘pass ls’ to list the tree of sites, ‘pass -c /path/to/name’ to copy the password to your clipboard for easy inserting into another application or website. (by default it will stay in the clipboard for 45seconds or 1 paste and then vanish). Note that you never even need to know the password here, you just get it from pass and paste it in and are done. If for some reason you do need to see it (a broken app that won’t let you paste for example), you can just do ‘pass /path/to/name’ and it will output the password. You can do ‘pass edit /path/to/name’ to edit a password, and note that you can add whatever you like to the pass file. pass -c will use the first line as the password, but you can add more lines with security questions and random answers, usernames or any other notes you like about the site. ‘pass git ‘ will let you run any arbitrary git command on your pass git repo, if you wanted to look at history or go back to some previous commit.

There is a android app that is supposed to work with pass files, but I have not tried it. It requires you to copy your gnupg private key to your phone, which is not something I am really wanting to do. Since I have my laptop with me most all the time anyhow, it’s not a big deal.