E-Mail Encryption: Why Isn't Everyone Doing It?

Anthony E. Greene agreene@pobox.com
Mon Oct 28 22:07:01 2002

Hash: SHA1

On 28-Oct-2002/10:43 -0500, "Mark H. Wood" <mwood@IUPUI.Edu> wrote:
>On Thu, 24 Oct 2002, Anthony E. Greene wrote:
>[snip interior quote]
>> Have you taken a look at the GnuPG manual lately? GnuPG can do lots of
>> things that PGP cannot do. There is no way to reproduce all those options
>> in a GUI and still have an easy to use interface.
>Sure there is.  You put all of the simple, popular stuff on the front of
>the interface and provide more-advanced stuff on other tabs, "Advanced"
>buttons, wizards, etc. according to the complexity of the material.

If the GUI is just a wrapper, then that's true. If the GUI is part of the
program, then it should prevent certain combinations of input, provide
warnings, and otherwise behave as an integral part of GnuPG. That is not
nearly so simple. Designing wizards to ask the right questions and process
input is tedious, and often complicated.

Tcl/Tk and java make usable cross platform GUIs. There is at least one
person who is willing to work on this kind of project, but it's not me. I
have built just enough end user apps to know very well that there is a
significant PITA factor in designing apps that must reliably process input
from potentially clueless users.

>> In the last 24 hours two
>> options were added in reponse to a user with a lost public key. If that
>> kind of responsiveness had to be put on hold because it would take too
>> long to put it into an GUI, then GnuPG would not be as good as it is.
>Why should GUI development have any effect on the answering of questions
>about the commandline interface?  The GUI goop should just be a wrapper
>around the commandline tool.

It wasn't a matter of answering a question. The application code was
updated to add a feature in response to a post on this list. The interface
change was a relatively simple matter of allowing another command line
option. Fitting those same options into a GUI is not necessarily so

[snipped reasonable disagreement with my SSL examples]

- -- 
Anthony E. Greene <mailto:agreene@pobox.com>
OpenPGP Key: 0x6C94239D/7B3D BD7D 7D91 1B44 BA26  C484 A42A 60DD 6C94 239D
AOL/Yahoo Chat: TonyG05      HomePage: <http://www.pobox.com/~agreene/>
Linux: the choice of a GNU Generation. <http://www.linux.org/>

Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Anthony E. Greene 0x6C94239D <agreene@pobox.com>