fingerprint of key

Duane Whitty duane at
Tue Aug 15 02:50:13 CEST 2017

Hash: SHA256

On 17-08-14 08:50 PM, Daniel Kahn Gillmor wrote:
> On Mon 2017-08-14 19:03:19 -0300, Duane Whitty wrote:
>> I did not and still do not want to import the oracle_vbox public
>> key into my key ring.  I am happy to download it and check it
>> each time.
> I think this is an interesting choice, but i don't understand why
> you've made it.  Can you say more about why you don't want to
> import the key, and why you prefer to fetch it each time?
I perceive keys in my keyring as being ones I trust because of
out-of-band confirmation and used for two-way communications.  I think
the VirtualBox key is just to give people assurance that they are
downloading what they intended to download from the source they
expected, in this case via apt or apt-get, etc. from an Oracle repo.

>> Before I go down the road on offering an opinion on how the man
>> page should be "fixed" (maybe it's not really broken) can you
>> explain why it would be bad to let gpg generate and display the
>> fingerprint of a key in an ascii armoured file?
> I'm not saying it's "bad" -- it's just not what --fingerprint
> does.
> --fingerprint List all keys (or the specified ones) along with
> their  finger‐ prints.  This  is  the  same  output as --list-keys
> but with the additional output of a line with the fingerprint.  May
> also  be combined  with --list-signatures or --check-signatures.
> If this command is given twice, the fingerprints of all  secondary
> keys are  listed  too.   This  command also forces pretty printing
> of fingerprints if the keyid format has been set to "none".
> So it's like --list-keys, which says:
> --list-keys -k --list-public-keys List the specified keys.  If no
> keys  are  specified,  then  all keys from the configured public
> keyrings are listed.
> in other words (or maybe it's not as explicitly stated as it should
> be), "list all the keys in your keyring that match the
> specification".  This command is not intended for listing
> fingerprints of keys that come in on stdin, or of an external
> file.
To me that reads as "if you provide a key then the fingerprint for
that key will be provided otherwise your keyring will be used".
Thanks for correcting my understanding.
> That said, you could combine it with:
> --no-default-keyring --keyring /path/to/file.gpg
> (as long as the file wasn't ascii-armored, and as long as you
> weren't concerned about updating your trustdb by accident, etc).
>> Again, i'm not saying this is particularly user-friendly, i'm
>> just
> trying to help you understand the current state of the tool.
> If you have specific suggestions for how to improve the tool,
> please suggest them!
>> --dkg

I'm not exactly sure what a good suggestion would be.  Would it be
correct to say that going forward usability changes would probably be
more likely to happen in the 2.1 branch?  If so I guess I should
upgrade to the 2.1 branch.

I can say that what I usually end up being challenged by is importing
keys into my keyring and on being able to choose which UID I want to
sign with.  Maybe that just means I don't know the software well enough.

For instance, last night I wanted to add a friend's new public key to
my keyring.  Gpg wouldn't add the key based on his email.  I had to
use his email to search the key server and then use the fingerprint of
his new key to add it to my keyring.

The approach I took was "gpg2 --search user at" and "gpg2
- --recv-keys key-fingerprint".  Then I did a "gpg2 --edit-key
key-fingerprint" to sign the key with my default UID.  I thought I
would get a menu to select options from when I used --edit-key but
instead I was presented with the prompt "gpg>" and I had to type the
sign command.  It worked but I might have chosen to sign the key with
a key from a different UID.  Not sure if my method of importing to my
keyring and signing the new public key was the usual or easiest method
but it worked.

Not sure there's actually a suggestion for improvement in there :-)
but you've given me a lot to consider and digest.  Sincerely, thanks!
 I love learning this stuff.

Best Regards,

- -- 
Duane Whitty
duane at


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