I use GNU Pass for my password manager, emacs-pinentry for my GPG pinentry, and Gnus as my mail reader. This has created a problem for me when Gnus and emacs-pinentry both need to use the echo area/minibuffer.

  1. Start Gnus. It automatically starts pulling mail, echoing a message saying it is doing so.
  2. It needs my mail password, so it calls Pass. (I have :password (string-trim (shell-command-to-string "pass my-email")) in the mail source config.)
  3. Pass needs my GPG password to decrypt and fetch my mail password.
  4. GPG calls emacs-pinentry to get that password...except it can't display the prompt in the minibuffer, because Gnus is already echoing a message to it.
  5. Hang until I press C-g to cancel it, at which point I see a pinentry-gtk window appear and can enter my password into that.

It seems like to resolve this, I'll either need to prevent Gnus from using the echo area until it has my password, or have emacs-pinentry prompt me somewhere other than the minibuffer. Or maybe there's a third way that I'm not seeing, or I'm wrong about what the problem is?

1 Answer 1


For anyone who happens to have this same issue in the future, the best solution I found is to just not configure an email password at all; the :password field turns out to be optional. It will just prompt for the password, at which point you can fetch and paste in your password like normal. (It also works with password-store-copy, by the way.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.