Gnupg good for big groups?

Paul Richard Ramer free10pro at
Sat Aug 7 21:59:45 CEST 2010

On Wed, 04 Aug 2010 13:57:57 -0400, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> It is also worth noting that PGPNET has some very big problems with key
> management.  PGPNET users are apparently comfortable wrestling with
> these problems (more power to them for that), but we shouldn't pretend
> the problems don't exist.
> In a completely connected graph of N nodes there are (N^2 - N)/2
> different edges.  Or, in English, 40 members equals 780 separate
> communications links, each one of which can fail and produce problems
> for other people.  The network begins to get spammed with "that last
> message wasn't encrypted to my new key, please re-send."  The network
> slowly begins to drown with communications overhead: key
> synchronization, resend requests, failure notifications, etc.  PGPNET is
> probably operating pretty close to the limits of OpenPGP.  At some point
> the math bites you hard and doesn't let go.

Well, I have some numbers to show the frequency of NETMK (Not
Encrypted To My Key) messages.  I was on the PGPNET mailing list for
just over three months, and these are my findings (note that all of
these numbers are from the day that I joined to the day that roll call
ended and my key was removed).

681 Messages sent by members of the list
628 Encrypted messages
36 NETMK messages
37-41 Keys
37-40 Members
32 Members sent encrypted messages
13 Members were responsible for not encrypting to someone's key
12 Members sent NETMK messages

And for what it's worth:

22 Messages weren't encrypted to my key

So for me that makes approximately 1 in 29 encrypted messages was not
encrypted to my key, 1 in 19 of all messages was a NETMK message, and 1
in 12 of all messages was either not encrypted to my key or a NETMK

Hope this is enlightening. :-)


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