Renaming a GNOME keyring (for seahorse, the passwords and keyrings application)

The GNOME Keyring is a great tool to unify password management across the desktop. Sadly, Firefox is the one application that doesn’t support this natively. (Chrome actually does!)

Seahorse is a useful tool to browse and manage your keyrings. Each keyring is physically stored in: ~/.gnome2/keyrings/$something.keyring

Usually the “$something“, matches the name of the keyring, however the real name comes from within the file. I had an older ubuntu machine running GNOME, and I wanted to import my keyring. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Copy ~/.gnome2/keyrings/login.keyring (from the ubuntu machine) to ~/.gnome2/keyrings/ubuntu.keyring (on the new machine)
  2. Open up seahorse and change the keyring password of this “login” keyring to the empty string. This stores the passwords in a plain text format, which is briefly necessary.
  3. Edit the ubuntu.keyring file. There will be an obvious “display-name” section at the top of the file to edit. I changed it to:
    [keyring]
    display-name=ubuntu
  4. After restarting seahorse, I now changed the password back to something secure. If this process worked, you should already see the new keyring name in your keychain list.

Obviously this is a bit of a hack, and a proper rename function would be preferable, but until that exists, hopefully this will fill a niche if you’re stuck and you want to pull in an old keyring into your already populated $HOME.

Happy hacking,

James

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