Two recent events prodded me into making a permanent move away from 1Password:
- I switched the operating system on my phone away from the manufacturer-installed Android system to LineageOS, a Free Software operating system based on a version of Android that does not have spyware or bloatware that allows apps (or Google) to track everything I do.
- Dropbox, the main system for synchronizing non-Agile Bits-hosted 1Password database files, is dropping support for encrypted ext4 filesystems1 in November, 2018. Since I use full disk encryption on all of my drives and my drives use the ext4 file system type and I have a very strong desire to cut ties with centralized systems like Dropbox (for storing information that I wish to keep private), I need to make a move.
My requirements for a password manager replacement are:
- Must be free software (respects the 4 Freedoms)
- Must have a desktop version and an Android version – so I can use it at home and on-the-go
- Must be on a computer that I can control – not some centralized system on the cloud
New Password Manager
I have switched to using KeePassXC as my full-time password manager.
The two contenders I considered were Bitwarden and KeePassXC.
Bitwarden is a worthy contender and definitely one you should consider if you also use iOS. Bitwarden meets all of my requirements. The application is very nice and works well on all platforms. With a little bit of extra work, you can spin up your own server and self-host your own Bitwarden server that can synchronize all of your passwords with all of your own devices.
I did not want to deal with the extra work that I would have to put in to make Bitwarden be my ultimate solution. However, if you are a nerd and you have the skills to deploy a web-facing server securely, Bitwarden is probably your best bet.
KeePassXC meets all of my requirements and it is not dependent on some centralized service. It stores all of my passwords in an encrypted file. I synchronize my encrypted KeePass database file on all of my devices (desktop, laptop, phone) using the amazing cross-platform Syncthing application that uses the Mozilla Public License.
I have been running 1Password and KeePass in parallel for 2 years now. I started with a port of the Windows KeePass client but I switched to KeePassXC when it came out since it is a native application on GNU/Linux. I use KeePass DX on my phone to access passwords.
I am very happy with my choice and see myself using it for the foreseeable future.