GPG User ID Comments and RFC 5322

David Shaw dshaw at
Sun Sep 13 00:28:25 CEST 2009

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:54 AM, Philippe Cerfon wrote:

> Hi again.
> Some days ago I was reading RFC 5322 which will probably become the
> new standard for internet mail.
> In sections 3.4 and 3.4.1 it says:
>> Also, because some legacy
>> implementations interpret the comment, comments generally SHOULD
>> NOT be used in address fields to avoid confusing such
>> implementations.
> and
>> Comments and folding white space
>> SHOULD NOT be used around the "@" in the addr-spec.
> As far as I can see this is what gnupg does when users set a Comment
> when they create their key. It has the same format: "(" phrase ")"
> Also the RFC means these comments (as far as I understand) more as
> real comments as you know them from C/C++,.. that are totally ignored
> by the clients/programs, while gpg does (of course) not ignore them
> but also interpret them more as and additional note to the name e.g.:
> Charles de Gaulle (président) <there.were at no.emails>
> in contrast to
> Charles de Gaulle (teacher) <cdg at>

GPG generally ignores comments.  They're intended as messages from one  
human to another, and not GPG's responsiblity.  You can search on the  
field, but (with one exception) GPG will not act differently depending  
on what it finds in there.

(The exception is if you put a comment in that says the key is  
"insecure" or "do not use", GPG will believe you)


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