Getting Smart With: PASS – the command line password manager

Open source command line tool to store passwords securely

Getting Smart With: PASS – the command line password manager

PASS is a password manager that uses the command line in Linux to create encrypted files for the sites that you visit. PASS was designed for simplicity and adheres to the Unix philosophy. With PASS, each password lives inside of a gpg encrypted file whose filename is the title of the website or resource that requires the password. These encrypted files may be organized into meaningful folder hierarchies, copied from computer to computer, and, in general, manipulated using standard command-line file management utilities.

Why do I want PASS?

Storing passwords online is problematic and poses many security risks. The passwords are often stored with weak encryption and the servers that they store them on are big targets because they store many users’ data. Storing passwords in an encrypted form locally makes sense.  If you use the command line often as many Linux users do, it makes it easy to store them with PASS. PASS also has GUI interfaces that make it even easier. Here are some reasons to make the switch:

  • It is open source
  • It is simple to use
  • It is well documented
  • It is CLI based, but there are GUI extensions available
  • It is encrypted with GnuPG to a level of your choosing.
  • It is entirely under your control. Passwords do not sync to third-party servers
  • Your password store can remain on your system only, or you can sync it with a private Git repo of your choosing (strongly recommended).
  • You can use it with your existing browser.

SO, How do I get it?

Ubuntu / Debian

$ sudo apt-get install pass

Fedora / RHEL

$ sudo yum install pass


$ sudo zypper in password-store


# emerge -av pass


$ pacman -S pass


The password store is available through the Homebrew package manager:

$ brew install pass


# pkg install password-store


The tarball contains a generic makefile, for which a simple sudo make install should do the trick.

Git Repository

You may browse the git repository or clone the repo:

$ git clone

Summing it all up

The flexibility of PASS make it very attractive as a password manager. One of the nice things is that it never touches the internet and is not in the cloud, making it harder to hack your passwords. If you are looking for a cool geeky way to store your passwords securely PASS is for you. If you are looking for something that automatically syncs across all of your devices PASS is not the program to use.

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Updated on August 05, 2023