A while back, I looked at a trio of simple but effective password management applications for the Linux desktop. But, as more than a couple of readers reminded me, those aren’t the only games in town. Not that I didn’t realize that already …
So, it’s time to look at another pair of desktop tools to help you manage your passwords. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Secrets uses the popular KeePass password database format to store and secure your passwords. The user inte target="_blank"rface is simpler and cleaner than most other password management applications based on KeePass. But don’t let the lack of (visible) options put you off. Secrets does its job well.
When you first first it up, you can either create a safe or open an existing one. A safe is simply the KeePass database that holds your passwords. If you create a safe, you’ll also need to secure it with a password.
Once you’ve done that, click the + icon on the toolbar to add a login or to create a group (more on groups in a moment). Let’s say you’re adding a new login. This screen displays when you click +:
You can add a name to identify the entry in your safe along with a URL, as well as user name and password for the login. You can further identify the entry by changing its colour and/or adding an icon.
A couple of paragraphs ago, I mentioned creating groups. Groups are a way to organize similar types of passwords — for example, Communication to keep your logins for chat and email services in one place. Here’s an example of the groups from my safe:
So you have a login saved in Secrets. Now what? To use it, find the login. Copy the username and password, as shown below:
Then paste them into the the login box for whatever you’re trying to log into.
Master Key is even simpler than Secrets, but it’s also as effective. And Master Key is a little different from Secrets.
As with other applications of this type, you need to create and secure a password database when you first start Master Key. But it’s when you add a login that the differences become apparent, as you can see in the image below:
While you can add the domain name and user name for the login you’re adding, Master Key generates the password for you. You can choose the number of characters in the password, as well as whether to include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. That will, in theory at least, create a more random and secure password.
As with Secrets, when you want to log into something, find the entry in Master Key. Then, copy the user name and password as shown below:
After that, paste the information into the destination login box and you’re ready to go.
Both Secrets and Master Key are easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to maintain. There’s not a lot of visual clutter — you get the basic password management functions that you need, and not much else.
Admittedly, using these two applications isn’t as convenient as using something like, for example, Bitwarden in your browser. However, your passwords aren’t on someone else’s computer. You’re in control of your information. For many of us, that’s all that matters.