choosing an encryption target from a User ID

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at
Wed Sep 23 19:04:05 CEST 2009

On 09/23/2009 12:17 PM, Werner Koch wrote:
> Please keep in mind that using a user ID is just to help the user in the
> most common case.  Any proper mail tool won't accept such a solution but
> either presenr the user a list of matching keys and let him select a key
> or auto select the key based on such information.

Has this been made this clear to collaborating MUA/plugin developers?  I
think the "auto select a key" step for MUAs or plugins is often
implemented as "let gpg pick the key based on the user ID".

I observed this exact behavior from enigmail, and it changed when i
re-ordered my keys in my gpg keyring.  You can see the discussion here:

So it sounds like enigmail is relying on gpg at some level to do key
selection among multiple User ID matches.  It seemed to me that I could
ask enigmail to improve their key selection process (fixing things just
for enigmail users), or i could ask gpg to change the selection process
(fixing things for enigmail users and all other gpg users).

> Thus I consider this a wish for a future version.  Feel free to add such
> a request to the bug tracker.

thanks, done:



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