systemd-ask-password man page

systemd-ask-password — Query the user for a system password


systemd-ask-password [Options...] [MESSAGE]


systemd-ask-password may be used to query a system password or passphrase from the user, using a question message specified on the command line. When run from a TTY it will query a password on the TTY and print it to standard output. When run with no TTY or with --no-tty it will query the password system-wide and allow active users to respond via several agents. The latter is only available to privileged processes.

The purpose of this tool is to query system-wide passwords -- that is passwords not attached to a specific user account. Examples include: unlocking encrypted hard disks when they are plugged in or at boot, entering an SSL certificate passphrase for web and VPN servers.

Existing agents are: a boot-time password agent asking the user for passwords using Plymouth; a boot-time password agent querying the user directly on the console; an agent requesting password input via a wall(1) message; an agent suitable for running in a GNOME session; a command line agent which can be started temporarily to process queued password requests; a TTY agent that is temporarily spawned during systemctl(1) invocations.

Additional password agents may be implemented according to the systemd Password Agent Specification.

If a password is queried on a TTY, the user may press TAB to hide the asterisks normally shown for each character typed. Pressing Backspace as first key achieves the same effect.


The following options are understood:

Specify an icon name alongside the password query, which may be used in all agents supporting graphical display. The icon name should follow the XDG Icon Naming Specification.
Specify the query timeout in seconds. Defaults to 90s. A timeout of 0 waits indefinitely.
Echo the user input instead of masking it. This is useful when using systemd-ask-password to query for usernames.
Never ask for password on current TTY even if one is available. Always use agent system.
If passed, accept cached passwords, i.e. passwords previously typed in.
When used in conjunction with --accept-cached accept multiple passwords. This will output one password per line.
-h, --help
Print a short help text and exit.

Exit status

On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.

See Also

systemd(1), systemctl(1), plymouth(8), wall(1)

Referenced By

systemd.directives(7), systemd.index(7).

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