A better interface to the GnuPG-Framework (Re: EasyGnuPG)

Dashamir Hoxha dashohoxha at gmail.com
Tue Mar 22 17:43:00 CET 2016

On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 3:53 PM, Paolo Bolzoni <
paolo.bolzoni.brown at gmail.com> wrote:

> I guess we should start from the desired use case.
> We want a GUI for what? Encrypting? Signing? Managing the web of
> trust? SSH login? Everything?

I think that deciding the desired use case(s) is important.
In a certain use case only 5-6 commands/operations/options may be needed,
not 300+.

In my opinion this is one of the problems with `gpg`. It is so generic that
it tries to cover all the possible cases. Consequently, it is huge, and
difficult, and suitable for none of them. It is more like a library than
like a user interface. Any GUI that tries to follow it faithfully will be
difficult, confusing and unintuitive. Each GUI should try to simplify
according to its specific use case.

Another problem that people have noticed with PGP (and inherited to GPG by
trying to follow PGP faithfully), is the confusing terminology (private
key, public key, etc.). In egpg I have tried to improve this by using the
term "key" for the personal key-pair, and using the term "contact" for the
public keys of the people with whom we communicate. This term ("contact")
maybe does not have an exactly correct meaning, but it is widely popular,
even among dummies who have never used anything but a (non-smart) mobile
phone. If you say "contact" they immediately think about the details of a
person with whom you want to communicate

The names of the commands and options can be improved as well, to better
fit the use case on which the GUI app is being used. I have also tried to
make sure that there is only one valid (unrevoked and unexpired) private
key at any time. Allowing more than one would increase the complexity of
the interface and make things more complicated. In certain cases you may
need more than one valid keys, but these cases are rare and can be handled
by other means.

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