IDEA patent vs the recent USPTO memorandum

David Shaw dshaw at
Mon Sep 21 21:48:51 CEST 2009

On Sep 21, 2009, at 2:30 PM, Johan Wevers wrote:

> David Shaw wrote:
>> If the "some people" still want this, I haven't seen it in a good  
>> long
>> while.  Possibly they gave up asking.
> Probably. However, if someone wants IDEA support for whatever reason  
> there
> is still the IDEA plugin. It still works with GnuPG 1.4.10 for both  
> Linux
> and Windows, although I have not tested it with the 2.0 versions.

There is IDEA support (as this is part of OpenPGP, albeit with patent  
issues), but no V3 key generation support.

>> To say nothing of the fact that compliant OpenPGP implementations are
>> explicitly banned from generating RFC-1991 keys.
> Why is that? Forced upgrading?

I recall it was not so much forced upgrading, as a general feeling of  
"enough already".  If you take a look at the ietf-openpgp archives for  
2003-2004, you'll see a few discussions around it.  Mind you, the  
statistics we played with at the time (4-5 years ago) showed that over  
90% of keys on the keyservers were V4.  I doubt that number has gone  
anywhere but up since then.

Another way to look at it is that the new wording around V3 keys  
(including the no-generate rule) enables someone to write an OpenPGP  
implementation that has no V3 support whatsoever (something which  
wasn't doable in RFC-2440).


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