Retaining expired sigs

Jason Harris jharris at
Sun Mar 20 21:10:44 CET 2005

On Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 01:37:04PM -0500, David Shaw wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:18:42PM -0500, Jason Harris wrote:
> > On Sat, Mar 19, 2005 at 10:35:47PM -0500, David Shaw wrote:

> > > I agree with your general idea here, but not the details, exactly.
> > > What GnuPG does in this case is to take the 1-Jan-2000 signature and
> > > ignore any that follow.
> > 
> > As I said, that makes them decidedly non-modifiable instead of simply
> > non-revocable.
> > 
> > > I don't like the idea of a signature that is temporarily superceded.
> > > Either it is superceded (and can be removed) or it is not.  It's a bit
> > 
> > If one doesn't insist that the latest non-revocable, superceded sigs
> > are to be removed, I don't see the problem with temporarily superceded
> > sigs.
> I think we're not communicating again.  There is no visible difference
> between these two things.  What's to have a problem with?

From your last message, I remain under the impression that the non-revocable
sig. is used and any sigs that might supercede it are _never_ used.

> Seriously, think about it:
> 	   non-revocable sig   1-Jan-2000
> 	   expiring sig        2-Jan-2000 (expires 10-Jan-2000).
> Now, say it's January 3rd.  According to what you want, the signature
> that gets used is the 2-Jan-2000.  Then, suddenly, on 10-Jan-2000,
> when that signature expires, the 1-Jan-2000 signature is used.

(Yes, I continue to advocate this (superceding of non-revocable sigs).)

>   End result: there is always a signature.
> According to what actually happens, the signature that is used is
> 1-Jan-2000.
>   End result: there is always a signature.

There is only ever one signature (that GPG uses):  the 1-Jan-2000
signature, correct?

> I suggest that if it bothers you all that much, you pretend that it's
> doing what you want.  It's not like there is a way to tell the
> difference.

I can imagine scenarios where there would be a difference, regardless
of how useful others may consider them in practice.  For example, I
issue a non-revocable 0x12 sig.  Later, I want to upgrade it to a
0x13 sig. (revocable or non-revocable).  IIUC, GPG will always use
the non-revocable 0x12 sig., correct?

If so, I think we're communicating just fine, but have a difference of
opinion over this issue.

> > BTW, what has your testing of other (OpenPGP(?)) encryption programs
> > uncovered?
> Haven't checked yet.  I don't know that it'll be terribly illuminating
> on the subject of non-revocable sigs since so far as I know, GnuPG is
> the only one that implements them (except for the usual use in
> designated revokers).  It might reveal something interesting about
> expiring sigs though.


Jason Harris           |  NIC:  JH329, PGP:  This _is_ PGP-signed, isn't it?
jharris at _|_ web:
          Got photons?   (TM), (C) 2004
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