GPG/PGP and Mail (was: Re: GnuPG: what email client should i use?)
Wed, 26 Jul 2000 10:35:28 +0200 (CEST)
>>>"t" == thi <email@example.com> writes:
t> gnu emacs and mailcrypt.el.
That's what I'm using right now, however there are some
shortcomings. The big issue is which standard to use and only after
that, which mailreader to use.
In general, there are three popular options for encrypted mail:
- PGP Ascii armor (used by Emacs/Mailcrypt and lot's of other
mailers. This is the "old" standard. No MIME support whatsoever, just
- PGP/MIME and OpenPGP [RFC 2015 and 2440] (This is what Mutt, Pine,
Emacs/Mew a.s.o. use. It's MIME multipart/encrypted. From "our"(i.e. gpg)
point of view, this would in theory be the best to use.
However, there is also:
- S/MIME: also RSA based encrypted-MIME mail format defined by an
industry consortium. Slightly different design choices from PGP/MIME
and not compatible. (implemented by Netscape, MS Outlook and others)
Now the bad news:
- S/MIME and OpenPGP are being developed independently and can, so far,
not interact with each other. It would be by far more preferable to have
just one standard. The Internet Mail Consortium is aware of this
problem, a discussion is here: http://www.imc.org/smime-pgpmime.html.
There are rumours that they might be merged. That'd be good news. But
then you need mail clients to support this.
- If we leave S/MIME aside, you've still got to decide whether to use
Ascii armor or PGP/MIME. I found (so far) no Unix-based mailreader that
can handle both (but there might be some, who knows. Maybe pine). It
really depends on the person you're mailing with which format to use.
So coming back to the question which mailreader to chose: you have to
take into account
- Do you need MIME?
- What format are the people using you're communicating with?
Personally, I stick with mailcrypt as I found most people in my reach
are still using Ascii armor. However, it has several bugs/misfeatures
(especially when using it with a non-7bit Ascii character set), but I
don't see an alternative. If someone writes a good Emacs mail client
that can handle both formats, or even better, adds this functionality to
an existing mail client like VM or GNUS, I'm sure he'll get his merits :-)
Nils Ellmenreich - Fakultaet fuer Math./Informatik - Nils @
http://www.fmi.uni-passau.de/~nils - Univ. Passau - Uni-Passau.DE