Email-only UIDs

Jose Castillo jose.castillo at
Wed Apr 8 17:50:55 CEST 2015

On Apr 7, 2015, at 11:07 AM, Ben McGinnes <ben at> wrote:

> Ah, but if it is truly just the email address then is it sitting in
> the email field of the UID or the name field?  

This has been a very illuminating conversation, and I just want to share something that led me to this confusion initially. When I was considering an email-only UID, I ran up against the issue that in gnupg's default mode of operation, a name is required for a UID, whereas an email address is not. If I try to enter a blank name while generating a key, gnupg issues an error: "Name must be at least 5 characters long". My instinct was thus to specify the email address in the name field. 

I got it backwards because gnupg treats the name field as mandatory and the email field as optional, which interestingly is the opposite of RFC 5322: 

	Normally, a mailbox is composed of two parts: (1) an 
	optional display name that indicates the name of the 
	recipient... and (2) an addr-spec address enclosed in 
	angle brackets. ("<" and ">"). There is an alternate 
	simple form of a mailbox where the addr-spec address 
	appears alone, without the recipient's name or the 
	angle brackets.

I realize now that an email-only UID should include angle brackets ("implementations SHOULD use the full name-addr form of the mailbox"), but I wanted to share the thought process that led me to this mistake in the first place. 


Joey Castillo

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