desktop-agnostic keychain system?

Mike Hearn mike at
Tue May 13 22:17:04 EEST 2003

This would be good yes, but I'm a tad concerned that we'll end up with a
million different libraries that duplicate the same code over and over
again, libsharedpasswords, libsharedfavouriteapps, libsharedaddressbook
and so on, all with slightly different interfaces. It might be worth
considering building a generic data store service, which only requires a
schema to be standardised for new types of data you want to store
instead of random invented file formats, file locations, duplicated
implementations and all that mess.....

Mozillas RDF service provides an interesting insight into what such a
system might look like. RDF is graph based (unlike XML which is tree
based), meaning it can represent many types of data very flexibly. They
built a generic RDF API, a callback service a la GConf and a templating
system for GUIs though the last isn't really relevant to this. It worked
pretty well. They use it to store bookmarks, form info, GUI
positions/state, all kinds of things really.

If such a thing were to be built, I'd suggest XML or a registry-style
tree model over RDF - although RDF is more flexible (its data model is a
superset of XMLs) the fact that nobody has ever heard of it and the
total lack of quality documentation for it means it'd just get in the

If that were layered on top of DBUS to provide change notifications and
a reasonably neutral API/spec (though maybe a library would more useful,
not sure), it'd be one step closer to a shared configuration system,
which would be *very* useful. It'd also make sharing odd bits and bobs
like this more trivial, and the barrier to entry would be lower, so more
of it would be done.

Just a few random thoughts,
thanks -mike

On Tue, 2003-05-13 at 19:30, Simon D Howard wrote:
> In using browsers under linux I find that each tends to store login 
> passwords for websites, but seems to store them seperately from every 
> other browser. Would it be a good idea to split off password storage such 
> as this into a generalised seperate library? Ie. create a generalised 
> keychain system for storing information cross-browser.
> This could be extended to other applications. I have a program that 
> accesses FTP sites and stores their passwords, for example. I can think of 
> other uses: storing login passwords or private keys for ssh, and with web 
> services becoming popular it could be useful for projects like mono as 
> well.
> I posted this on the epiphany list as a suggestion for GNOME originally, 
> but it was pointed out this would be even more useful as a 
> desktop-agnostic system.
> What do people think of this? I'm willing to work on such a system if 
> there is interest in the idea.
> Please CC: me replies as I'm not subscribed to this list.
> Simon
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