2FA generator


Many of us now use two-factor authentication (2FA) when connecting to vital online services such as Google Mail and GitHub. 2FA adds a second factor alongside your password, with the most common second factor being a time limited one-time pin generated by an app on your smartphone. Often this app is proprietary, such as Google's own Authenticator, but because old versions of the app were open source, there are also many "free" implementations that are capable of registering the same services and generating compatible codes. The best on Android, for example, is FreeOTP+ (the plus is important), because it allows you to back up your authentication credentials for each service, rather than having to re-enter them every time you switch phones or devices.

But using a smartphone app isn't always ideal. This is where the simply named Authenticator helps. Authenticator is a Gtk3+ application that fits perfectly into a Gnome desktop and looks very similar to the glut of Android apps built after Google Authenticator. It's got both a light and dark theme and looks lovely, oriented in a portrait style much like the app. It's best feature is that when you press the Add button to add a credential, almost every service you can think of that supports 2FA is listed, rather than leaving you randomly entering encryption keys in the hope it works. With that done and with the necessary keys exchanged with the online service, you can then use Authenticator just like the app – selecting the pre-configured service to get a time-limited code and entering this into your login prompt. Having this facility on the machine where you're likely to use the codes is very convenient. However, it does add a security risk, as anyone with access to your machine will be able to connect to your services (if they know the password), so be careful!

Project Website

Authenticator can easily be installed using the flatpak command.


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