Smartcard Faq

Joe Smith unknown_kev_cat at
Wed Aug 3 00:46:02 CEST 2005

Open Message to Werner Koch:

The OpenPGP Smartcard page says a FAQ is in production. While I'm pretty 
sure you can come up with enough questions, I pose the following questions 
which have occurred to me, and in the cases where I was able to make a 
decent sounding response, I have included an answer. Please feel free to use 
these in the FAQ.

Also I encourage others to post questions they have (or have had).

Q: What cards does GPG support?
A: GPG supports any card that Implements the OpenPGP Card spec. The only 
current implementation is available from Kernel concepts.

TECH NOTE: If you implement the spec in the form of software for an already 
existing card, please consider sharing it. In such an event you must apply 
for a free manufacture ID from FSF Europe e.V., also ensure that there is 
some mechanism by which each card can have a different serial number.
Q: What card readers can GPG use?
Q: Can I use algorithms other than RSA?
A: The OpenPGP spec currently allows only RSA keys; however, it was created 
to allow other key types to be added later.
Q: Can I use RSA keys larger than 1024 bits?
A: The spec allows for keys of 1024 bits or larger. The current card only 
supports 1024 bit keys.
Q: If the card locks up from invalid pins can it be unlocked?

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