file extension confusion: --clearsign makes binary .asc

Werner Koch wk at
Thu Jul 25 16:25:17 CEST 2013

On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 02:20, hans at said:
> I'm sorting thru the GnuPG file extensions these days.  One thing I just
> noticed is that "gpg2 --clearsign icon.png" creates a binary file called
> "icon.png.asc".  The signature is ASCII but the rest is still the plain old
> binary.  Shouldn't that file be .gpg or .sig?

The .asc suffix indicates that this is a human readable file and as such
could be directly send using email or

The .sig indicates a binary detached signature.

The .gpg is GnuPG's version of .pgp and indicates a binary format.

The use of the suffixes stems form PGP 2.  I used them to make migration
easier.  Well, except for the self-advertising .gpg suffix.

GPG does not care about the suffix, but uses the content to decide which
type of file it is.



Die Gedanken sind frei.  Ausnahmen regelt ein Bundesgesetz.

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