In my effort to create a PasswordManager? in emacs, I’ve written this password generator. This is a function that my old password manager was performing for me. So, I’m pretty pleased with the results.

It should be noted that Emacs’ RANDOM isn’t very random at all. I wrote a similar piece of code a while ago, but I soon noticed that the generated passwords were quite similar at times. You should probably read random numbers from /dev/random.

org-passwords.el (included in the contrib of org or available at provides a password generator for random strings of characters as well as concatenations of random words. It is also a full password manager, but it can be require just for generating the passwords.

(defun* make-password (length &optional (upper t) (lower t) (number t) (symbol nil) (ambiguous nil))
  "Return a string of LENGTH random characters.  If UPPER is non-nil,
use uppercase letters.  If lower is non-nil, use lowercase letters.
If NUMBER is non-nil, use numbers.  If SYMBOL is non-nil, use one of
\"!\"#$%&'()*+'-./:;<=>?@`{}|~\".  If AMBIGUOUS is nil, avoid
characters like \"l\" and \"1\", \"O\" and \"0\"."
  (interactive (make-password-prompt-for-args))
  (let ((char-list (make-password-char-list upper lower number symbol ambiguous))
	 position password)
    (random t)
  (loop for i from 1 to length 
	do (setq position (random (length char-list))
		 password (concat password (string (nth position char-list)))))
  (if (interactive-p)
      (let* ((strength (make-password-strength length upper lower number symbol ambiguous))
	     (bits (car strength))
	     (number (cadr strength)))
	(message "The password \"%s\" is one of 10^%d possible and has a bit equivalence of %d" 
		 password (round number) (round bits)))

(defun make-password-char-list (upper lower number symbol ambiguous)
  (let* ((upper-chars-ambiguous '(?I ?O ?G))
	 (upper-chars (loop for i from ?A to ?Z unless 
			    (member i upper-chars-ambiguous)
			    collect i))
	 (lower-chars-ambiguous '(?l ?o))
	 (lower-chars (loop for i from ?a to ?z unless 
			    (member i lower-chars-ambiguous)
			    collect i))
	 (number-chars-ambiguous '(?0 ?1 ?6))
	 (number-chars (loop for i from ?0 to ?9 unless
			     (member i number-chars-ambiguous)
			     collect i))
	 (symbol-chars '(?! ?@ ?# ?$ ?% ?& ?* ?( ?) ?+ ?= ?/ 
			    ?{ ?} ?[ ?] ?: ?\; ?< ?>))
	 (symbol-chars-ambiguous '(?_ ?- ?| ?, ?. ?` ?' ?~ ?^ ?\"))
  (if upper
      (setq char-list (append char-list upper-chars)))
  (if lower
      (setq char-list (append char-list lower-chars)))
  (if number
      (setq char-list (append char-list number-chars)))
  (if symbol
      (setq char-list (append char-list symbol-chars)))
  (if ambiguous
      (setq char-list (append char-list

(defun make-password-prompt-for-args ()
   (string-to-number (read-from-minibuffer "Number of Characters: "))
   (y-or-n-p "User uppercase: ")
   (y-or-n-p "User lowercase: ")
   (y-or-n-p "User numbers: ")
   (y-or-n-p "User symbols: ")
   (y-or-n-p "User ambiguous characters: ")))

(defun* make-password-strength (length &optional (upper t) (lower t) (number t) (symbol nil) (ambiguous nil))
  "Calculate the number of possible passwords that could be generated
given the criteria of LENGTH and use of UPPER, LOWER, NUMBER, SYMBOL,
and AMBIGUOUS characters"
  (interactive (make-password-prompt-for-args))
  (let* ((char-list (make-password-char-list upper lower number symbol ambiguous))
	 (bits (/ (* length (log (length char-list))) (log 2)))
	 (number (/ (* bits (log 2)) (log 10))))
    (if (interactive-p)
	(message "number of combinations is 10^%d with a bit equivalence of %d" (round number) (round bits))
      (list bits number))))

There is a blog entry that apparently relates to this,