gpg --edit-key when the key has many signatures

David Shaw dshaw at
Wed Jul 21 21:45:47 CEST 2004

On Wed, Jul 21, 2004 at 09:05:24PM +0200, Thomas Viehmann wrote:
> David Shaw wrote:
> > Check something for me - you say there are 16 uids.  Do an --edit-key
> > on this key and count them.  Then do a --list-keys on this key and
> > again count the uids.  Do all the numbers match?
> No, they're 16 uids in the list and 8 on edit, as one might expect from
> these figures, all uid's are there twice.
> > Also, is --list-keys really slow like --edit-key or is it fast?  If
> > --list-keys is fast, then check if --check-sigs on this key is slow.
> list keys is fast, check sigs is fast.
> > There are two good possible reasons why this key is slow for you, and
> > I'm trying to nail down which one.
> Yeah, thanks, it looks like it's got something to do with the uids, right?

Yep.  You've been caught by a keyserver bug.  Sometimes keyservers
duplicate user IDs, signatures and all.  GnuPG knows about this bug,
so when you use --edit-key, it checks for duplicate user IDs and
collapses them into one.  This takes some time when there are a lot of

The answer is to --edit-key the key, wait until you get a prompt, and
then just enter "save".  This saves the key in the fixed state and now
--edit-key should be fast again.

However, note that the keyserver may well give you duplicate user IDs
again the next time you refresh the key...

Which keyserver do you use?


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