Fail-safe backup

Henry Hertz Hobbit hhhobbit at
Thu Jun 13 13:11:02 CEST 2013

I just answered a question on whether you could import somebody
else's keys from a file named "other.txt" rather than "other.asc"
or "other.gpg".  While perhaps technically correct I also pointed
out that Windows depends on the proper file-name extension and
some Linux distros like OpenSuSE are very persnickety about the
file having the proper extension.

If you are going into the unknown make a backup of your key
folder before experimenting.  The following in a terminal would
be a good idea on 'nix:

$ cd ; rm -f
$ zip -r9 ./.gnupg

Now go ahead and experiment to your hearts content.  Just be
aware that something like OpenSuSE may block an --import unless
the file-name is something like "other.asc" or "other.gpg".
That doesn't mean any damage will be done with something like
"other.txt", The shell will just refuse to let gpg / gpg2 do
anything.  But if you do damage or think you damaged your
key-ring, the old fail-safe can always be put back:

$ cd
# # if you are unsure if you damanged keys
$ rm -fr zzz.gnupg
$ mv .gnupg zzz.gnupg
# # or if you are POSITIVE you killed things:
$ rm -fr  .gnupg
# then put the fail-safe back in place
$ unzip

If nothing else you have a backup of your keys in case of files
being damaged due to power failure, et al.  But you never want
to take steps into the unknown without a way to go back to
something that works.  If you don't believe me, watch the movie
The Eiger Santion some time.  Karl Freytag said: "I consider
it self defeating to plan in terms of retreat."  Hemlock replied
"I consider it stupid not to."  The ending of the movie drives
the point home in a very dramatic manner despite one of the
climbers saying they would continue in style.

Sooner or later you think can get away with something and you can't
no matter how good you are.  When that happens you need some way to
recover from the disaster.  Now go ahead and gpg --import other.txt.

Gnome 3, Ubuntu Unity, Windows 8 - poor iPhone GUI on Desktop
Thinking has been suspended indefinitely
Anybody caught thinking will be immediately shot!

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