Bernd's comments on GPGME

Robert J. Hansen cortana at
Mon Jul 21 19:00:07 CEST 2003


While I'm not exactly a fan of GPGME (my feelings on it are very mixed),
I think some of your criticisms here are well off the mark.

> IMHO GPGME is neighter a clean nor a high level interface. 

I agree that GPGME isn't clean, nor as high-level as it should be.

> While doing a search on freshmeat, I see only an ADA binding for GPGME and
> one tool using GPGME, which is the gaim-e plugin. This is clearly a proof
> for the total failure of the project. 

Not all software is posted on Freshmeat.  I have a small tool, Codebook
(, which uses GPGME. 
There are a reasonable number of users--not lots, but enough to keep me
doing off-and-on development of it.  I'm aware of several other projects
which use GPGME, from MUAs to some odd Jabber projects.

> Too heavy weighted, restricted features, restrictive license, and ever so
> often Werner is answering help requests with "if you are willing to pay"....

Heavyweight and restricted features appear to be mutually
contradictory.  It's hard to imagine how something could simultaneously
be heavyweight and not featureful enough.  Could you please explain
precisely what you mean by this?

Re: Werner's answering of help requests... what do you expect from him? 
The GPGME developers aren't getting paid to write this software. 
They're giving you their labor free of charge.  It's perfectly rational
for Werner to say "if you want me to do this, you'll need to pay me; if
you don't want to pay me, you have the source so you can do it

Freedom means empowering you.  Freedom doesn't mean Werner gets to be
everybody's indentured servant.

> From that experience, i am quite sure, that GPGME is full of ugly 
> hacks

Ah, since you've done it once, you're sure that GPGME is just as hackish
as your solution, since nobody could do it better.  This is coder
arrogance.  It's not helpful to anyone, and it's most destructive to
your own work.

As an example, I've been playing around with a policy-based approach to
sockets.  My first version was a bletcherous nightmare and I cursed
roundly about how stupid policy programming was.  My second version was
slightly less of a nightmare.  My third version was back to a
nightmare.  My fourth version was pretty darn cool and surprisingly
elegant.  Likewise--your original GPGME-alike may have been a nasty
hack.  Unless you've inspected the source, that's no reason to think
GPGME is a nasty hack.  Marcus may have figured out a way to do the same
task better.

> GPGME is not as unique as Werner wants it to be.

Show me one C library in the free software community which does an
equivalent task.  It seems pretty unique to me.

Robert J. Hansen <cortana at>

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