help needed getting gnupg to function correctly in linux

Philip Jackson philip.jackson at
Wed Jun 18 19:04:16 CEST 2014

I can't send signed or encrypted emails in Thunderbird.

I am using Thunderbird 24.5, enigmail 1.6, UbuntuStudio 14.04. Gnupg 1.4.16 was
already installed in the linux distribution and I installed gnupg2  v2.0.22. I
also installed Kleopatra and GPA because I am used to those gui's in Win7.  I
imported my public and secret keyrings from Win7 and also the trust database.

All the keys are displayed correctly in enigmail, Kleo, GPA and Thunderbird
indicates good signature for those emails received where I have the public key.

I am in the process of moving everything I can off Windows7 onto UbuntuStudio.
I have been using T'bird and enigmail for several years under windows so I know
more or less how it works at user level.

Currently, sending signed or encrypted mails fails with a 'bad passphrase
message' without even having given me the opportunity to enter the passphrase.

I am comparatively new to linux but turning to a terminal to try gpg leads to
the following conclusions :

using gpg :

I can sign a test message.  gpg warns that there is a problem with the agent and
it has disabled it.  But nevertheless it produces a test-message.gpg or
test-message.asc depending on the command given.  It requests and accepts my

gpg can verify the .gpg and the .asc files and gives 'good signature message'

using gpg2 :

I cannot sign a test message - gpg2 says that a passphrase is needed for my key
but then aborts before I can enter anything and the following error is returned -
> gpg: problem with the agent: No PINentry
> gpg: no default secret key: Operation cancelled
> gpg: signing failed: Operation cancelled

In /.gnupg/gpg.conf : default-key has been entered.

gpg2 can and does verify the .gpg and .asc files produced by gpg returning a
good signature message.

Kleopatra cannot sign files.  Returns 'bad passphrase' message without ever
having asked for a passphrase.

Kleopatra cannot verify the clearsigne .asc file produced on the cli bu gpg :
returns message 'no signature found'

Kleopatra cannot verify the .gpg file produced by gpg and returns message  :
'could not open file "" for reading: Input/output error (218136625)'

Note that it doesn't even have the name of the file.

It appears to me (in all my ignorance) that there is a problem connected with
gpg-agent and PINentry.   The Synaptic Package Manager shows that I have
gnupg-agent v.2.0.22-3ubuntu1 installed.

I'd appreciate all and any help offered bearing in mind that I'm new to linux
and command line stuff.


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