Installing gpass on CentOS 6 Linux


Over the last year I have become utterly dependent on a product called 1Password by Agile Bits software.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with this software, 1Password is a multi-platform program that manages all your passwords, in additional to other sensitive information, in an easy-to-use interface.

Originally written for the Mac, the software is now offered on iPad, iPod, 'droid, and Windows machines.  I have it installed on all available platforms.  While initially bemoaning the cost of the product - it's not cheap - I've come to depend on it for all of password storage, my software license management, and even the credit-card information for the card I use for online purchases and subscriptions.

Quick aside and then I'll cease the fanboi gushing: my favorite feature of the program is the password generator.  I can custom-tailor a password to be as obnoxiously long, and obfuscated, as I need and I don't ever, ever, have to type it in when challenged.  Passwords are simply copy-pasted from the 1Password program, or you can use the embedded 1-click feature functionality of the support extensions available for all browsers.

My only complaint with 1Password is the lack of Linux support.  Since I'm using Linux as my LAMP development platform while at-home, I need a comparable password manager. I know I won't have all of the slick features of 1Password, but at least I'll be able to copy-paste long, obfuscated, passwords from the password manager into my Linux desktop applications.

So, let's get started!

There's some good tutorials already available on the 'net about doing just this - however, none I found were exactly right and, following those tutorials, I did run into several side issues.  I'll cover all those issues here so that your installation will be seamless.

Operating System: CentOS 6 Linux Desktop GUI: Gnome gPass version: 0.5.1 EPEL repository: 6.5

Download the gpass source into your "Downloads" directory and unpack the tarball:

[cc lang='bash' line_numbers='false']

wget http://projects.netlab.jp/gpass/release/gpass-0.5.1.tar.gz

tar xvzf gpass-0.5.1.tar.gz

cd gpass-0.5.1

[/cc]

I based my initial install of gpass from the UnixCraft blog post here.  (In the tutorial, they omitted the arguments to the tar command to un-tar the tarball that creates the gpass source directory.)

In step 1, the blog asks you to do a group install of the development tools and, secondly, install the gnome-ui, mhash, and mcrypt development libraries.  The second step failed for me following the successful install of the gnome-ui as my stock yum configuration was unable to locate either the mhash or the mcrypt packages.

After googling the issue, I determined that I needed to at the EPEL repository to my yum configuration.  It's common to have several repositories in your yum catalog.  You'll add additional repositories by establishing configuration files in /etc/yum.repos.d/.

Setting up the EPEL repository is pretty easy as they've created an rpm just for this purpose.  Make sure you have sudo privileges on your account and enter the following commands: (I'm currently in the "Downloads" directory in my $HOME.)

[cc lang='bash' line_numbers='false']

wget http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/epel/6/x86_64/epel-release-6-5.noarch.rpm ... rpm -Uvh epel-release-6-5.noarch.rpm

[/cc]

Side note: I'm aware when I'm reading how-to's on other sites that reference software versions that said versions may not always be the current, and most stable, release available today.  I always check the repository, using a browser, before downloading to ensure I'm obtaining the latest version.

Once the rpm is installed, you'll need to edit the repository file.  Again, using sudo, edit the /etc/yum.repos.d/epel.repo file and in the EPEL repository section, add the line: priority=3 at the end of the section.

I'm now ready to install the mhash and mcrypt packages, obtaining them from the Redhat EPEL repository.  Again, assuming sudo privileges:

[cc lang='bash' line_numbers='false']

# yum install libmcrypt-devel # yum install mhash-devel

[/cc]

From this point, you need merely to follow the instructions in the UnixCraft blog I linked-to above, but here are the steps to finish the installation.  Again, assuming you've changed-directory to the gpass source:

[cc lang='bash' line_numbers='false']

./configure

./make

./make install

[/cc]

At this point, as long as you've not seen any error messages in your output, your gpass program is ready to use.  Test by typing gpass at the command line -- you should see the gpass window pop-up on your desktop:

In the screen-shot to the right, those of you that are past your second cup of coffee may have noticed that my gpass window looks suspiciously like a Mac OS X version.

I am running the gpass application on my Linux server, but I am serving the display to Mac OS X Lion desktop.  I set-up the configuration to do this for two reasons.

  1. to capture and display screenies
  2. to copy paste data from my native Mac 1Password application into my Linux gpass application.  I do NOT want to retype some of those passwords...
That's pretty much it.  I leave the exploration and use of gpass up to you.  I'll do a follow-up tutorial quick-post on how-to set-up XForwarding on Linux to your remote desktop (Mac) via secure shell.
Thanks for reading - hope this helps!