missing documentation / rant

Werner Koch wk@gnupg.org
Sat Mar 9 22:06:01 2002

On Sat, 9 Mar 2002 15:02:23 -0500, Martin Blais said:

> these options don't know show up in the man page. someone really ought to do 
> the grunt work of cross-checking the man page documentation with the actual 

There are reasons for this.  --dump-options is for example also not
listed in the man page.  But hey, you have the source, so where is the

> fixed (and if so, why doesn't it do that by itself?).  besides, i cannot 
> figure out how to use check-trustdb, all i get is output like this:

So don't use it.  As said, there is a reason that it is not listed.
BTW, the next version has it mentioned because this command has a real
use then.

> also of interest:
>     --allow-secret-key-import

> is not mentioned on the output of "gpg --help". i'm sure there are many 

If you try to import a secret key, a messge is printed, telling you to
use this option.  Anyway, this option is just a temporary hack and not
anymore needed in 1.0.6d.  Printing all 202 commands and options with
--help make no sense, it is just too much and can't probably not be
understood without a more verbose description.  Anyway, recent
versions do print:

      --photo-viewer               Set command line to view Photo IDs
   -N, --notation-data NAME=VALUE   use this notation data

  (See the man page for a complete listing of all commands and options)

There is nothing important missing, some things are maintainer only.
If you or the people attracted by encryption real want to get into it,
use the source.

> another big one (for me and other friends): the default behaviour for "gpg 
> file.gpg" is to decrypt to a file "file", and apart from asking for the 
> passphrase it doesn't say it has output the PLAINTEXT to a FILE. the

Which is the correct behaviour of a Unix tool.  Use --verbose to get
what you want.

> lies in the filesystem!  that is a big problem!  IMHO that should not be the 
> default behaviour, the default, just as for input, should be that it outputs 
> to stdout, just like --decrypt does, and that using --decrypt should output 

A lot of tools do have this behaviour and it makes a lot of sense. IF
you want to have the output on stdout, send the input to stdin.