Command-line Based Password Manager for Ubuntu Linux – pwman3

PWman3 is a command-line based password manager (keeper) for the GNU/Linux users. If you have a lot of password to manage with ease then perhaps you might wanna avoid “pwman3” and try a GUI tool like FPM2 or Revelation for instance.

But if you’re a sort of a power user that use the command-line interface a lot and don’t have lots of password to manage (not that pwman3 cannot handle a lot!) then pwman3 is still a pretty awesome looking utility that’s also very much a user friendly tool once you get familiar with it.

Another feature of pwman3 is that it also supports connecting to your database from a remote location through a SSH which is something most of the other GUI tools lack.

A list of my current passwords/logins (which are fake ones that I created for this post ;-))…

Few main features …

*. It keeps all you password in an encrypted database (otherwise what sort of a password manager is that, right? ;-)). Supports encryption algorithms such as: AES, ARC2, ARC4, DES, DES3, Blowfish etc.

*. Easily add/remove/edit your entries.

*. Manually change between encryption algorithms.

*. Ability to open URL from the command-line (click-able links).

This of course won’t fill in your details but would only open the appropriate URL in your default web browser …

*. Supports entering fields such: The user name, log-in URL, password, a small description and “tags” for searching the database later.

*. “list” all the login-password entries by a single command.

*. Export/import login details.

*. Add a main password for the program … are some of its main features to mention.

If interested, you can install pwman3 in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 by using the below command in your Terminal window.

sudo apt-get install pwman3

Usage example …

As said before it is easy to use once you get a hold of it.

Opening it

1. Open the program by using the below command in your Terminal window. It should take you into its own shell as shown in the first image.

pawman3

2. Whenever you want to add a new password after running the above command, and enter the below text (as shown below).

new

Then it’ll ask you you to enter details of the log-in such as:

1. Username

2. Password

3. Password length (this will only be asked if you choose to auto generate a password from the above step)

4. URL

5. Notes (simple description so you can identify the appropriate field later)

6. Enter the Main password (then it’ll ask to enter your main password for the program itself)

Enter the main password for the program here. Always remember this password, as this will be your primary password for the program itself …

7. Tags (used for searching)

8. Password ID (auto generated which can also be used to search later)

That’s it, now you’ve successfully created a single login in Pwman3. Remember, you don’t have to fill all the fields and fields such as (URL, notes etc) are optional.

If you want to add another one you can again type “new” or “n” and go through the above process again. Other than the master password of the utility, you don’t have to remember any other detail as you can easily search and find login details later.

Once everything is completed, you can type the below command to exit the utility.

exit

How to retrieve a login detail afterward?

1. Again, launch the program by using the below command in your Terminal window.

pwman3

2. Now type the below command and when asked enter the main password for the program and it should give you a list of all your login details.

list

You can use the numbers (marked in “Green”) with the below command to get individual details of each account …

3. Now as in this example, if I wanted to get full details of the entry 5, I can type the below command and will open its details as shown below.

print 5

Searching using “tags” …

1. Let’s say that I only wanted to locate passwords (or login details) with “email” tag attached to them. Then I’d use something like the below command.

filter email

Then use the “list” command as shown below.

list

Now this time “list” will only show you logins that has the “email” tag attached to them.

Now if you enter “list” command again to see a list of all the password fields, it will only show you ones associated with “email” rather than the full list. But we can easily disable that using the below method.

3. So, if you want  to use “list” command the usual way of showing all the login lists etc or want to search for a different “tag”, then you’ll have to remove the filter that we added above.

For that use the below command.

clear

This should clear out all the filtration and it should make “list” command work with its default settings. The filtration is also automatically removed when you exit the program as well.

If you want to get a list of supported commands, enter the below command inside the program.

help

Now this should give you an output as shown below.

If you want to get additional info on what the individual commands do (delete, tags etc) then use “help” followed by the command.

For instance, if I wanted to know what the “new” command does, then I’d use something like shown below.

help new

This should give you a short description as shown above.

If you wanted to edit an existing field, then use the below command and follow the on-screen details. Just replace “5” with the number associated with the account.

edit 5

Deleting a field …

You can delete a password field by using the below command. Again replace the number with the account that you want to delete.

delete 5

Now I know my “documentation” might be a bit confusing to some, in that case, I humbly advice you to read this official pwman3 documentation that explains things more clearly. Good luck.

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