pwgen: Making it up as you go

I like password generators. I don’t know why. I think they’re fun to watch in action, and they’re good to keep around even if there’s not much I really do with them.

Here’s pwgen, which I find amusing at the least.


pwgen might remind you of otp, which was mentioned last month. It has similar output and does much the same thing.

On the other hand, pwgen can wrangle passwords in a way that satisfies some constraints. For example, if a site requires you use a symbol (which I find incredibly annoying), pwgen can inject them. Same for capitalized letters or numbers.

It can also yank out certain characters, like vowels, thereby reducing the risk of accidentally creating a password that sounds “naughty” in English. 😳 Of course, for all you know, whatever is left could be a majestically foul utterance in another language. 🙄

I’ve noticed (because I played with pwgen so much 🙄 ) that the sequence of flags is important. For example:

kmandla@lv-r1fz6: ~$ pwgen -A -B -s -1

is different from

kmandla@lv-r1fz6: ~$ pwgen -s -A -B -1

and if you try you’ll see that the first one, in spite of the -A flag, will produce passwords with capital letters, probably because the -s came after. The second on the other hand, will pull them out before they hit the screen.

I have pass installed, so pwgen came along for free. You can use pwgen independently of pass though, which is only to be expected. 😉