HOWTO on interfacing with gnupg/pgp?

Werner Koch
Mon Jun 18 20:00:02 2001

 || On Mon, 18 Jun 2001 18:58:17 +0000
 || Pedro Díaz Jiménez <> wrote: 

 pdj> any pattented algoritms in gnupg, but lets face it. Sometimes, some of us
 pdj> have to use them (one of my teachers uses pgp 2.x). and patching gnupg
 pdj> sources doesn't seem clear to me. Does gnupg support any kind of plugin

You want to trade in usability for freedom.  The GNU project does not
do this.

One of the reasons for the plugin code in GnuPG is that the IDEA and RSA patent are not
valid in all countries (especially RSA) and therefore we wanted
to allow users in those countries to be able to use these algorithms 
and more easily replace their proprietary PGP[1] with Free Software.  It was a pitty
that this was not possible for most users.  Since Sep 20th 2000 there
is no more reason for using PGP because the RSA patent expired.
There is almost no reason to use IDEA anymore because we have other
algorithms which are at least as strong as IDEA.  

And it is a good idea to adhere to standards. PGP 2 is not OpenPGP
compliant and has a few security weaknesses.

By still using IDEA you are giving the proponents of software patents
a momentum - we have to fight software patents and if it is
only[1] to protect our Free Software.

So please don't expect from a GNU project that it will ever support
proprietary software. 



[1] A very old version of PGP 2 used to be under the GPL but it used
to be encumbered by some further restrctions.  PGP 2.6 is not available
under the GPL but under a semi-free license; however due to the
mandory use of a patented algorithm it is not usefule.  PGP 5 and 6
are proprietary software and 7 is even closed source.

[2] as you probably know, software patents are not only a threat to
Free Sotware but also the majority of proprietary software vendors.
See for further information.

Werner Koch        Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur
g10 Code GmbH      et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est.
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