GPG and PGP Compatibility

Ryan Malayter ryan at
Tue Oct 17 23:18:18 CEST 2006

On 10/17/06, Conan Purves <conan.purves at> wrote:
> Theoretically speaking, what is the difference between PGP and GPG?  Is
> it just a different management tool handling the same encryption
> algorithm or is there some further translation between the two?  Why
> does my Enigmail menu on Thunderbird say OpenPGP, but it is using the
> GnuGPG engine?

GnuPG, as well as recent versions of the commercial PGP-branded
products from PGP Corporation, implement the OpenPGP standard. They
are in almost all cases able to read each other's data, and
decrypt-verify that data.

We use both implementations at my company. I have tested sending
signed and encrypted email from a PGP desktop user to a GPG4Win user,
and vice-versa, and was able to verify at least plain-text messages,
as well as .sigs on attachments.

One small difficulty arises in that GnuPG tends to use.gpg as its main
file extension for encrypted files, whereas PGP Corp.'s products use
.pgp. But that can be overcome with configuration settings, either in
one of the programs, or by telling Windows what programs to associate
with which file extensions.


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