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A minimalist knowledge base manager

Project description

kb. A minimalist knowledge base manager

Author: gnc

Copyright: © 2020, gnc

Date: 2020-09-22

Version: 0.1.3


kb is a text-oriented minimalist command line knowledge base manager. kb can be considered a quick note collection and access tool oriented toward software developers, penetration testers, hackers, students or whoever has to collect and organize notes in a clean way. Although kb is mainly targeted on text-based note collection, it supports non-text files as well (e.g., images, pdf, videos and others).

The project was born from the frustration of trying to find a good way to quickly access my notes, procedures, cheatsheets and lists (e.g., payloads) but at the same time, keeping them organized. This is particularly useful for any kind of student. I use it in the context of penetration testing to organize pentesting procedures, cheatsheets, payloads, guides and notes.

I found myself too frequently spending time trying to search for that particular payload list quickly, or spending too much time trying to find a specific guide/cheatsheet for a needed tool. kb tries to solve this problem by providing you a quick and intuitive way to access knowledge.

In few words kb allows a user to quickly and efficiently:

  • collect items containing notes,guides,procedures,cheatsheets into an organized knowledge base;
  • filter the knowledge base on different metadata: title, category, tags and others;
  • visualize items within the knowledge base with (or without) syntax highlighting;
  • grep through the knowledge base using regexes;
  • import/export an entire knowledge base;

Basically, kb provides a clean text-based way to organize your knowledge.


To install the most recent stable version of kb just type:

pip install -U kb-manager

If you want to install the bleeding-edge version of kb (that may have some bugs) you should do:

git clone
cd kb
pip install -r requirements.txt
python install

Tip for GNU/Linux and MacOS users: For a better user experience, also set the following kb bash aliases:

cat <<EOF > ~/.kb_alias
alias kbl="kb list"
alias kbe="kb edit --id"
alias kba="kb add"
alias kbv="kb view --id"
alias kbd="kb delete --id"
alias kbg="kb grep"
alias kbt="kb list --tags"
echo "source ~/.kb_alias" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.kb_alias

Tip for Windows users: Do not use notepad as %EDITOR%, kb is not compatible with notepad, a reasonable alternative is notepad++.

Please upgrade kb frequently by doing:

pip install -U kb-manager


A docker setup has been included to help with development.

To install and start the project with docker:

docker-compose up -d
docker-compose exec kb bash

The container has the aliases included in its .bashrc so you can use kb in the running container as you would if you installed it on the host directly. The ./docker/data directory on the host is bound to /data in the container, which is the image's working directly also. To interact with the container, place (or symlink) the files on your host into the ./docker/data directory, which can then be seen and used in the /data directory in the container.


A quick demo of a typical scenario using kb:

A quick demo with kb aliases enabled:

A quick demo for non-text documents:

List artifacts

List all artifacts contained in the kb knowledge base:

kb list

# or if aliases are used:

List all artifacts containing the string "zip":

kb list zip

# or if aliases are used:
kbl zip

List all artifacts belonging to the category "cheatsheet":

kb list --category cheatsheet
# or
kb list -c cheatsheet

# or if aliases are used:
kbl -c cheatsheet

List all the artifacts having the tags "web" or "pentest":

kb list --tags "web;pentest"

# or if aliases are used:
kbl --tags "web;pentest"

List using "verbose mode":

kb list -v

# or if aliases are used:
kbl -v

Add artifacts

Add a file to the collection of artifacts

kb add ~/Notes/cheatsheets/pytest

# or if aliases are used:
kba ~/Notes/cheatsheets/pytest

Add a file to the artifacts

kb add ~/ssh_tunnels --title pentest_ssh --category "procedure" \
    --tags "pentest;network" --author "gnc" --status "draft"

Add all files contained in a directory to kb

kb add ~/Notes/cheatsheets/general/* --category "cheatsheet"

Create a new artifact from scratch

kb add --title "ftp" --category "notes" --tags "protocol;network"
# a text editor ($EDITOR) will be launched for editing

Delete artifacts

Delete an artifact by ID

kb delete --id 2

# or if aliases are used:
kbd 2

Delete multiple artifacts by ID

kb delete --id 2 3 4

# or if aliases are used:
kbd 2 3 4

Delete an artifact by name

kb delete --title zap --category cheatsheet

View artifacts

View an artifact by id

kb view --id 3
# or
kb view -i 3

# or if aliases are used:
kbv 3

View an artifact by name

kb view --title "gobuster"
# or
kb view -t "gobuster"

View an artifact without colors

kb view -t dirb -n

View an artifact within a text-editor

kb view -i 2 -e

# or if aliases are used:
kbv 2 -e

Edit artifacts

Editing artifacts involves opening a text editor. Hence, binary files cannot be edited by kb.

The editor can be set by the "EDITOR" environment variable.

Edit an artifact by id

kb edit --id 13

# or if aliases are used:
kbe 13 

Edit an artifact by name

kb edit --title "git" --category "cheatsheet"
# or
kb edit -t "git" -c "cheatsheet"

Grep through artifacts

Grep through the knowledge base

kb grep "[bg]zip"

# or if aliases are used:
kbg "[bg]zip"

Grep (case-insensitive) through the knowledge base

kb grep -i "[BG]ZIP"

Grep in "verbose mode" through the knowledge base

kb grep -v "[bg]zip"

Import/Export/Erase a knowledge base

Export the current knowledge base

kb export

This will generate a .kb.tar.gz archive that can be later be imported by kb.

Import a knowledge base

kb import archive.kb.tar.gz

NOTE: Importing a knowledge base erases all the previous data. Basically it erases everything and imports the knowledge base.

Erase the entire knowledge base

kb erase


If you want to upgrade kb to the most recent stable release do:

pip install -U kb-manager

If instead you want to update kb to the most recent release (that may be bugged), do:

git clone 
cd kb
pip install --upgrade .


I am an independent developer working on kb in my free time, if you like kb and would like to say thank you, buy me a beer!



Copyright 2020 Giuseppe Nebbione.

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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