What will GnuPG 1.4.5 do with soft returns within a public key? Other questions.

Pat Somerville l_pat_s at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 27 02:36:40 CET 2009

Hi.  I use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) 8.0.2 in Windows XP Home Edition.  My friend uses GnuPG (Gnu Privacy Guard), perhaps still version 1.4.5 and I guess in Windows XP.  After a hard-drive replacement I discovered that I had saved his GnuPG public key in a .doc file on a Recordable Compact Disc (CD-R) I burned.  I imported his public key into PGPkeys somehow from that file.  Opening that file in Word Perfect 9 and making formatting characters visible I could see backwards-paragraph-looking symbols at the ends of lines for soft returns for end-of-line "wraparounds" of long lines.

Question 1.  What would GnuPG 1.4.5 do with a soft-return character like this?  Would it treat it as a character and not ignore it or extract it or ignore it?  That is would the addition of soft returns to a public key "mess up" decryptions using GnuPG 1.4.5?  Answers may involve looking at the source code for GnuPG 1.4.5.

I opened that .doc file in Windows XP's program WordPad and saved it as a "Text Document - MS DOS" (Microsoft Disk Operating System) "Format" file type with a txt extension.  Just before the last step of that process, I received the notice reading, "You are about to save the document in a Text-Only format, which will remove all formatting."  After clicking a "Yes" button to that, I noticed that some short lines lengthened.  So I surmise that those soft returns were probably deleted in generating the .txt file containing the public key, something I liked to happen.  However, test decryptions made from encryptions making use of both the .doc and .txt versions of a public key were both successful.  So I conclude that PGP 8.0.2 and PGP 6.02i extracted or ignored the soft returns; that is the soft returns were of no consequence in encryptions in PGP 8.0.2 and decryptions in PGP 6.02i.        

Question 2.  What about spaces?  Will GnuPG 1.4.5 and PGP 8.0.2 ignore them in a public key?

I understand that GnuPG is written in the computer language C and partly in Assembly Language.

Question 3.  If I wanted to see the code for the reading of a public key in GnuPG 1.4.5, where would I find it both on the Internet and in what file and section of the code?

Question 4.  Back to my friend's failure to decrypt my PGP-encrypted message, can you imagine a Windows-XP update updating a Windows file and thereby making GnuPG 1.4.5 on such a computer suddenly a non-working program?  I imagined such a possibility and suggested that if my friend fails to decrypt a message in a test, that he uninstall GnuPG 1.4.5 and install GnuPG 1.4.9, which might havve been built to handle more-current Windows files.  Does anyone want to agree or disagree with any of my thinking here?

I cannot yet completely rule out the simple possibility of my friend missing something or making a mistake in typing GnuPG commands as an explanation for his failure to decrypt my PGP-encrypted message.  Thanks in advance for anyone taking the time to reply to me.    
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