Red Hatter,
open sourcerer

Using proper FreeIPA certificates on Cockpit

Cockpit and FreeIPA

A couple of years ago, I did a video on Youtube on using FreeIPA / IdM certificates in Cockpit. According to some comments (that I only saw way after the fact…), for some people, my way of doing that didn’t work.

Therefore, I redid the video for RHEL7 and RHEL8, connected to IdM from RHEL8. This should work with recent Fedora as well, since I’m using that at home :)

How it works


Both on RHEL7 and RHEL8, the certmonger process that is actually “in charge” of getting the certificates, cannot write to /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d due to SELinux. Therefore, before we tell it to go fetch certificates through ipa-getcert, we need to tweak SELinux a bit.

The following command works on RHEL7, RHEL8 and recent Fedora and relabels /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d to certs_t instead of etc_t. This makes it possible for certmonger to write there.

semanage fcontext -a -t cert_t "/etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d(/.*)?"
restorecon -FvR /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d


On RHEL7, cockpit expects a combined file for the certificate and key information, so we need to concatenate what we get from certmonger before we give to cockpit.

We can pass ipa-getcert a post-save command, that is issued after storing the certificate, but that can be only a single command. Therefore we use a script:



cat /etc/pki/tls/certs/${name}.cert /etc/pki/tls/private/${name}.key /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/50-${name}.cert
chown root:cockpit-ws /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/50-${name}.cert
chmod 0640 /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/50-${name}.cert

After we issue that command, we can request the certificate:

ipa-getcert request -f /etc/pki/tls/certs/$(hostname -f).cert -k /etc/pki/tls/private/$(hostname -f).key -D $(hostname -f) -C "/usr/local/sbin/cockpit_certs.sh $(hostname -f)" -K host/$(hostname -f)

This should result in a certificate in /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d that we’ll never have to touch again :)


On RHEL8 and recent Fedora, we don’t need a script to concatenate the key and the certificate, because recent cockpit can handle two separate files for them.

Therefore, we only have to issue the ipa-getcert command:

ipa-getcert request -f /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$(hostname -f).cert -k /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$(hostname -f).key -D $(hostname -f) -K host/$(hostname -f) -m 0640  -o root:cockpit-ws -O root:root -M 0644

This again should result in a certificate that we’ll never have to touch again until we decommission this machine!

Hope this helps!