The verdict: MyPasswords 10/10

Winner - my passwords

Tell me you didn't see that coming. That the winner would be the tool that lets you assign tags to each entry, doesn't require any installation and supports partial searches. And it's the only tool in the selection that offers two of these qualities – no installation and tags.

A perfect score may make us seem partial or jaded or out of our minds, but you'll agree with us after giving MyPasswords a spin yourself. But it wasn't an easy battle, and we were pleasantly surprised to have such a closely contested competition.

It was unexpected, especially because some tools haven't seen any developer love in a good long while. The other podium finishers, KeePassX and GPasswordManager, both managed a 9/10. With only a little work, these two can easily topple MyPasswords, although we suspect it will be a Vi vs Emacs-like debate and not a clean win for either party.

Most websites nowadays require users to fill in a security question and password that can be used to recover a secret word string if you ever forget yours. And yet, none of the tools in our list offer the option to also add this information to the login credentials.

Some tools, like KeePassX, let you add notes for each added entry, and while this can be used to store the security question and other related information like a secondary email address perhaps, dedicated fields to store this information will be very much appreciated.

Gringotts gets such a low rating because it's not the easiest to use tool in the list. In fact, it wasn't intended to be a password manager at all, and so putting it in this list was maybe unfair. It's an amazing program when you use it for storing files – which is what it was created for.

While some of these tools let you search within categories, PasswordSafe's advanced search option lets you select any number of fields, like name, URL or description to search within. And this is something that the other tools should also offer.

While partial matching and search-as-you-type is a handy feature, it's not very convenient when you have dozens or even hundreds of entries in the database. The fact that it doesn't offer a source file so that you can manually install in other distributions is shocking.

But MyPasswords, our winner with a perfect score, isn't without fault either. The absolute lack of any documentation is a feature common to almost all tools. Some of them don't even provide a complete feature set.

A small tooltip for each button on mouse-over is useful, but this shouldn't be the extent of the documentation for any type of software – not just password managers.

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First published in Linux Format Issue 139

Liked this? Then check out How to get secret service grade security

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