readpassphrase -- get a passphrase from the user
readpassphrase(const char *prompt, char *buf, size_t bufsiz, int flags);
The readpassphrase() function displays a prompt to, and reads in a
passphrase from, /dev/tty. If this file is inaccessible and the
RPP_REQUIRE_TTY flag is not set, readpassphrase() displays the prompt on
the standard error output and reads from the standard input. In this
case it is generally not possible to turn off echo.
Up to bufsiz - 1 characters (one is for the NUL) are read into the provided
buffer buf. Any additional characters and the terminating newline
(or return) character are discarded.
The readpassphrase() function takes the following optional flags:
RPP_ECHO_OFF turn off echo (default behavior)
RPP_ECHO_ON leave echo on
RPP_REQUIRE_TTY fail if there is no tty
RPP_FORCELOWER force input to lower case
RPP_FORCEUPPER force input to upper case
RPP_SEVENBIT strip the high bit from input
The calling process should zero the passphrase as soon as possible to
avoid leaving the cleartext passphrase visible in the process's address
Upon successful completion, readpassphrase() returns a pointer to the
null-terminated passphrase. If an error is encountered, the terminal
state is restored and a NULL pointer is returned.
[EINTR] The readpassphrase() function was interrupted by a
[EINVAL] The bufsiz argument was zero.
[EIO] The process is a member of a background process
attempting to read from its controlling terminal, the
process is ignoring or blocking the SIGTTIN signal or
the process group is orphaned.
[EMFILE] The process has already reached its limit for open
[ENFILE] The system file table is full.
[ENOTTY] There is no controlling terminal and the
RPP_REQUIRE_TTY flag was specified.
The following code fragment will read a passphrase from /dev/tty into the
if (readpassphrase("Response: ", passbuf, sizeof(passbuf),
RPP_REQUIRE_TTY) == NULL)
errx(1, "unable to read passphrase");
if (compare(transform(passbuf), epass) != 0)
errx(1, "bad passphrase");
memset(passbuf, 0, sizeof(passbuf));
The readpassphrase() function will catch the following signals:
When one of the above signals is intercepted, terminal echo will be
restored if it had previously been turned off. If a signal handler was
installed for the signal when readpassphrase() was called that handler is
then executed. If no handler was previously installed for the signal
then the default action is taken as per sigaction(2).
The SIGTSTP, SIGTTIN, and SIGTTOU signals (stop signal generated from
keyboard or due to terminal I/O from a background process) are treated
specially. When the process is resumed after it has been stopped,
readpassphrase() will reprint the prompt and the user may then enter a
The readpassphrase() function is an extension and should not be used if
portability is desired.
The readpassphrase() function first appeared in OpenBSD 2.9.
FreeBSD 5.2.1 December 7, 2001 FreeBSD 5.2.1 [ Back ]