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Disabling Gnome's Keyring in Fedora 19

Posted on 2 mins read

An update too Fedora a while ago started causing some unexpected behavior with my dotfiles. Specifically the way I was handling my SSH agent. My SSH keys when added to my agent automatically expire after a couple of hours.

After the update, when that expiration came I started receiving errors in my shell that looked similar to the following (Since I fixed it I am not able to get the exact working again):

Warning: Unable to connect to SSH agent

I also noticed that periodically I got a Gnome keyring popup asking for my SSH agent rather than my command-line client. I’m personally not a big fan of Gnome, but I deal with because it’s the default for Fedora, tends to stay out of your way, and switching to something else is just not a project I’ve had time for.

Now Gnome was very much getting in my way. I dealt with it for several months now and finally got sick of it.

I tracked this down too the gnome-keyring-daemon which was starting up and clobbering the contents of my SSH_AUTH_SOCK variable along with my GPG_AGENT_INFO environment. Not very friendly.

There were a couple paths that I could’ve gone for for solving this situation. The first, and easiest way to probably have dealt with this was too put some logic into my ~/.bashrc file that detected when the gnome-keying-agent was running, kill it and clean up after it. It might look something like this:

if [ -n "${GNOME_KEYRING_PID}" ]; then
  if $(kill -0 ${GNOME_KEYRING_PID}); then
    kill -9 ${GNOME_KEYRING_PID}


I share my dotfiles along a lot of different systems and don’t like system-specific behaivior getting in there. Instead I choose to find what was starting up the keyring daemon and preventing it from doing so. Without a good place to start and stubbornly refusing to Google this particular problem I took the brute force approach of grep for the binary name in the /etc directory.

Sure enough in /etc/xdg/autostart I found a series of background daemons that I definitely did not want nor need running. As root I ran the following command to purge them from my system:

cd /etc/xdg/autostart
rm -f gnome-keyring-{gpg,pkcs11,secrets,ssh}.desktop

The first solution will keep your system in a default state, but this will permanently prevent the obnoxious behaivior on your system for all users and prevents you from adding hacks to your bashrc to work around mis-behaving software.

I hope this helps someone else!