Problems attemoting to use GPG with a USB watch

David Shaw dshaw at
Tue Jan 4 17:40:21 CET 2005

On Tue, Jan 04, 2005 at 03:35:07AM -0500, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Adam Cripps <kabads at>:
> > > instead of setting $GNUPGHOME, have you tried just setting
> > > 
> > > 'secret keyring /path/to/secring.gpg'
> > > 
> > > in your gpg.conf file? I did this the other day (with a similar
> > > present) and it works fine for me.
> > > 
> > 
> > Hehe -- it's too early here - that should read
> > 
> > 'secret-keyring /path/to/secring.gpg'
> Thanks, I'll try that.  It would still be nice to know why the locking
> thing didn't work, though.

I don't think this will work without further effort (or at least, I'd
be rather surprised if it did).  Perhaps Adam's secring.gpg is

The reason why the locking didn't work is that your watch is formatted
as a VFAT filesystem, as David Champion guessed.  GnuPG uses link() as
part of its file locking scheme, and VFAT doesn't support links.

You have a number of options, one is to use --lock-never as David
Champion suggested; you will of course have to take care not to run
two instances of gpg at the same time.  The other option is to make
the secret keyring read-only.  Read-only files have no need for locks,
and thus are ignored by the locking code.  Of course, read-only files
are read-only, so that may not be useful to you if you want to
actually manipulate your keyring on the watch frequently.  Or you
could reformat your watch as ext2 or 3 (or really, anything that
supports hard links).


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