Changing preferences

David Shaw dshaw at
Mon Sep 22 18:07:05 CEST 2008

On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 02:47:30AM -0500, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> David Shaw wrote:
> > If they are so horrible, suggest a different way to handle them.  Better
> > to fix it in code rather than document something you feel is confusing.
> Remove the option.
> Seriously.  I think key preferences ought to be considered analogous to
> "--cipher-algo": you can tweak them if you want, but it's not
> recommended and should be hidden from the user by default.  If a user
> uses the --expert flag while --edit-keying, then present it.  Otherwise,
> make an executive decision on a reasonable preference set and be done
> with it.

It an interesting thought, but I'm not sure this is a good analogy to
--cipher-algo and friends.  The danger with --cipher-algo is that you
can actually break communication: it's possible to make a message that
cannot be read by the recipient.  Preferences are vastly different, as
there is no way to break anything.  The absolute worst thing you can
do is make yourself confused as to which algorithm is being
chosen... and that was the state you were in before you messed with
the preferences in the first place.

This is an option where the right thing will happen if someone doesn't
touch it, and the right thing will happen if someone messes it up.  I
don't really understand the sudden need for repair here.


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