There are actually two public keys?

Lucio Capuani louis.capuani at
Sat May 16 23:33:58 CEST 2009

Hello everybody and thank you for reading. I have a pretty good
understanding of how asymmetric cryptography works in general. Nevertheless,
the fact that GPG uses "two keys", I mean a main key and a subkey, confuses
me. Are those "two keys" the private/public pair? Or it's else? The subkey
is a public key (it must be); since you use it for encryption, that's the
one you *publish* to the World so it can crypt stuff for you. So far so
good. Now for the other key. Is that to be meant as the "private" key, since
is the one that's used for signing? Since that is also the key that people
do sign; I think the answer is NO, but I'm not sure. My idea is that *both
of those keys are public keys*; one of those public keys is used by other to
crypt stuff (the "sub", as seen above) and the other is used to VALIDATE
your signature; and that's the one people do sign to acknowledge that that
it's yours. So, that key is public too! If that's correct (it is?) it would
be more adequate to say that gpg generates a triplet of keys rather than a
pair then?; two public keys and one private. If the private is only one of
course. And if I got all of this right. :-) Please kindly enlight me,
because all the documentation browsing I did was unsuccessful for this
purpose. Thank you SO much everybody! Lucio Capuani
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