revelation: the gnome password manager

July 25th, 2007 edited by ana

Article submitted by Diego Martínez Castañeda. We have run out of good articles! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like!

Revelation is a powerful tool which lets you manage and store sensitive information, such as passwords or credit cards numbers, in a password protected file, so you only have to remember one password to access all.

Some of its features are:

  • Password protected file. All your data will be as secure as your master password is.
  • Simplicity: Revelation is easy to use.
  • GNOME. It’s completely integrated with GNOME, and it uses GTK.
  • Search tool. The Search button is very useful when you’re browsing into hundred of keys.

First steps

As you start Revelation, the main window is divided into two vertical panels. The left panel contains a tree hierarchy in which you can create folders or entries, and right panel displays information about entries.


Initially, revelation creates an empty file for you, ready to be populated. You can easily add new entries with your data using the Add Entry button. Depending on the data type you’ve selected, information fields may be different.


Adding information

There are several basic types of data you can store, such as email, ftp or database. Every type has its own configuration and its own fields because Shell requires a hostname and Creditcard don’t.


In this example, I’m going to add my Debian Package of the Day account under my Home folder (see the images below). Be careful when you write down your password because, by default, Revelation will show it while you’re writing.


After you have added your important information, you save it into a password protected file by pressing Save button (or Ctrl+S). Revelation will ask you for this password and, importantly, this will be the only password you’ll need to access the file. Of course, if you don’t remember it, you’ll lose all data stored in the file.


Showing information

One you have populated your Revelation file, you can see your email password by selecting the corresponding entry on the left panel. The information will be shown on the right.


You can also try the Revelation Account Search GNOME panel applet. It is the best and fastest option for accessing your passwords when you’re using lots of entries in a single file.



There are other alternatives in Debian which you can use to manage your passwords, for example, KWallet Manager (integrated with KDE), gpass, pwsafe. I have chosen Revelation because I need to manage lots of passwords, stored in different files and I do not want to use a command line program. Plus, I need folder organization and different entry types to define exactly what type of data I’m referring to. Finally, search option and GNOME applet are very important in case of forgotten password..

The package has been available in Debian since sarge and in Ubuntu since Edgy.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

12 Responses

  1. Fredo Says:

    I use revelation, too, and I really like it. I wouldn’t know how not to use the same two passwords for every account, if there wasn’t revelation to keep all my passwords…

    The built-in password generator makes it easy to use new, secure passwords for your accounts.

    Just one small correction: revelation has been available in Ubuntu since Hoary, so quite a while.

  2. Alexandre Gonçalves Says:


    I use keepass ( and I’m quite happy with it. It’s available in multiple OS’s, which is a requirement for me, since I use Ubuntu at home and (have to) Windows at work. The password file opens in both OS’s.

  3. JGJones Says:

    I use keepass myself too - but it’s not suitable on Gnome (as it use the QT for its look). Revelation look perfect for what I want esp with the applet…BUT…to make it perfect it need to be able to use keepass database format or something so that I can at least use it on OSX/Windows as well.

    Thanks for letting us know about this software though.

  4. Michael Fierro Says:

    I’ve tried a few password managers, and always end up going back to a GnuPG-encrypted text file. It’s a lot easier to use and back up, and it’s rather inconvenient to access one of the graphical password managers over a remote ssh connection.

    Oh: if you are going to do this, I strongly recommend that you back up the file at least daily, and install the GnuPG plugin for vim (assuming you use vim as your editor). This allows vim to seamlessly open the password file, instead of you having to first decrypt it, then edit it, then re-encrypt it.

  5. David Mills Says:

    A hint that I found usefull:

    Install expect, and in the ‘goto’ commands section for shells do this:

    gnome-terminal -x expect -c ’spawn ssh %u@%h;expect “Password: “;send “%p\n”;interact’

    Like that, you’re automatically logged in to your ssh shells when you double click.


  6. damokles Says:

    I’d rather suggest using a cross-plattform manager like KeePass or pwsafe as they provide similar functionality and let you share your secrets more easily.



    (why do I have to press shift-space for space here?)

  7. AK Says:

    Revelation also has a gnome applet that you can lookup items in after unlocking, which is very handy for items like bank id/passwords.

  8. nocti Says:

    Just an echo on what Michael Fierro said. I’ve been always on the lookout for a good gui password manager but I always end up with a GPG encrypted text file. The format of the text file is akin to that of /etc/passwd so I can quickly cook up a script in case I need to access it and examine the different fields. Keepass is good too.

  9. nekt Says:

    Was trying to get the auto password input with expect working. A more refined version that worked for me is:

    gnome-terminal -x expect -c ’spawn ssh %u@%h; expect -nocase “password:*”; send “%p\n”; interact’

  10. NG Says:

    For vim + GPG, does the GPG plugin stop it from writing out swap files and so on? That seems like it might be the best solution for me, as I not only want cross-platform but easy merging when the copies on the various platforms get out of sync.

    On the other hand, being able to double-click the asterisked password field in KeePass to have it copied to the clipboard for 12 seconds is nice.

  11. Olivier Berger Says:

  12. Olivier Berger Says:

    (Oops, entered RETURN too fast.)

    What I meant in the above link I posted, is that unfortunately, revelation seems unmaintained at the moment :(