how long should a gpg --import of 886 users take?

Ingo Klöcker kloecker at
Sat Sep 25 13:10:42 CEST 2010

On Friday 24 September 2010, Daniel Kahn Gillmor wrote:
> I just started with a clean gpg homedir, imported one key (my own),
> and then imported the full keyring of all debian developers:
>  mkdir -m 0700 test
>  export GNUPGHOME=test
>  gpg --keyserver ( --recv D21739E9
>  gpg --import < /usr/share/keyrings/debian-keyring.gpg
> this last step imports 886 keys.  gpg then processes for a *long*
> time before returning control to the calling shell.
> Overall, the process consumed over 3 hours of CPU time on a 900MHz
> Celeron (it took more than 3 hours by clock time  because i was
> trying to use the machine for other work concurrently).  Less than
> half of that was during the import step (that is, before the "Total
> number processed: 886" line was emitted).
> This is a reasonably interconnected set of keys, but 3 hours of CPU
> seems like a really long time.  Should i expect that?
> This is with gnupg 1.4.10-4 and debian-keyring 2010.06.08, if anyone
> cares to try to replicate the results.  If you do, i doubt my initial
> one-key import is relevant, but i don't feel like trying the whole
> thing over again right now because i need my CPU back :)

I have run the test on my machine (4 year old Core 2 2.4 GHz) using gpg 
2.0.12 (openSUSE 11.2).

The first part of the import took a couple of minutes. The more keys 
were imported the longer the processing of a single key took. I suppose 
this is to be expected. The second part of the import took much longer:

# time gpg --import <debian-keyring.gpg
gpg: Total number processed: 886
gpg:               imported: 885  (RSA: 119)
gpg:              unchanged: 1
gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found

real    39m28.311s
user    33m18.748s
sys     5m49.511s

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