HKP Server Question

David Shaw dshaw at
Tue Jun 8 23:09:58 CEST 2004

On Tue, Jun 08, 2004 at 09:27:47PM +0200, Patrick Brunschwig wrote:
> I'm looking into the HKP protocol to find out how I could best implement
> a key searching function in Enigmail. My main reasons are that the
> frontend offered by gpg would need an unnecessarily complex
> implementation from my side, and that Mozilla obviously can easily use
> HTTP, and can also traverse proxies where you need user authentication.
> I have found some drafts of a proposed HKP standard by David, and I have
> tried a couple of  keyservers to see their output. It seems to me that
> even though many keyservers support the "options=mr" flag, the output
> can be quite different (e.g. concerning revoked keys).

This should not be.  Can you give me an example?

> My question now is: does gpg parse the human readable code and try
> to interpret it, or does it use the machine readable format? And is
> there some documentation available on how gpg interprets the output?
> I would like to implement this as simliarly as possible.

The best thing you could do is look at the gpgkeys_hkp.c file in the
GnuPG 1.3.x release.

However, the LDAP servers are becoming more important these days (as
"PGP Universal" has one built in).  Rather than just implement HKP,
since you know that anyone using Enigmail has GnuPG installed, why not
call the gpgkeys_xxxx programs directly?  That way you get support for
all keyserver types, current and future.


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