GPGME python bindings query

Ben McGinnes ben at
Fri Jul 13 04:42:49 CEST 2018

On Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 01:01:10PM -0400, Jacob Adams wrote:
> On 07/09/2018 03:42 AM, Ben McGinnes wrote:
>> On Sun, Jul 08, 2018 at 09:52:23AM +0530, Divesh Uttamchandani wrote:
>>> I couldn't find example/docs which explain this. Can someone
>>> suggest a way to do so.
>> No.  Some things are intended to be done manually and revoking an
>> entire key is one of them.  If it must be automated then current key
>> generation will produce a revocation certificate by default and the
>> solution would be to apply that to a key store and/or any relevant
>> distribution channel (e.g. uploading it to the keyservers).
> I'm actually manually generating a GPG revocation certificate in my
> own project (by calling gpg from subprocess). I know I shouldn't be
> doing this,

It's a good thing you said that.

> but I didn't see another way (and based on the above there isn't
> one).


> I would prefer to use the automatically generated certificate as it
> also comes with some useful explanation text, but the problem I'm
> having is that there is no way to trigger this generation from GPGME
> and it appears to happen whenever you generate your first subkey (or
> perhaps your first signing subkey, haven't dug that much into it).

It's generated with the certification key and this comment indicates
there may be a little misunderstanding about the revocation
certificate.  It's used to revoke an entire key, including subkeys and
it does this by the simple expedient of revoking the certification
key.  Once the certification key is revoked, the certification
signatures can't be validated without throwing the disabled key errors
which prevent the subkeys from being used.

So even if subkeys are added later, there are no additional revocation
certificates generated for the subkeys.  Which is why you'll find .rev
files in $GNUPGHOME/openpgp-revocs.d/ directory matching the
fingerprint of the primary key, but nothing for the subkeys; while the
$GNUPGHOME/private-keys-v1.d/ is populated with multiple .key files
matching the keygrips for all the keys and subkeys generated.

> I'd like to inform the user every time they will be prompted for
> their password

Fair enough, it's good practice to get them used to the idea of it
being necessary and reiterating the importance of it without laying it
on too thickly.

> and a random extra password prompt

There are no random extra password prompts, they're all necessary for
a secure system.

> for the revocation certificate that I can't control doesn't really
> help there. If there's some way I could manually trigger this
> process that would be great.

It should have already occurred when the key was first generated.  The
only time it needs to be done manually is when issuing a specific
revocation certificate with a less generic revocation reason or if the
key was generated with an older version of GPG that did not generate
such a certificate by default.

>> In your case since this is an exploratory project for GSoC, the
>> best approach is that if something you're trying to do is both not
>> immediately apparent and if it were to be performed manually on the
>> command line would produce a whole bunch of warnings to the user to
>> confirm that they're sure and if they really want to do whatever it
>> is; then chances are good that not only is there no way to automate
>> it, but we will also advise against trying to do so by
>> circumventing those warnings.
> I definitely need to keep this in mind.

Not just you, a lot of people should; the warnings are there for valid
reasons and we saw recently with the EFFail situation what happens
when MUAs ignore warnings and errors.

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