gpg hangs when asking for passphrase

Joey Morris rjmorris.list at
Tue May 9 15:32:43 CEST 2017

Peter Lebbing <peter at> wrote on Tue, May 09, 2017 at 11:50:33AM +0200:
> Is it possible that this started occuring after upgrading the gnupg
> package? 2.1.17-4 (from 10 Jan) introduced using systemd user sessions
> for gpg-agent and dirmngr by default. When I had this enabled on Debian
> jessie, a connection to the agent would just hang. I figured this had to
> do with a difference in systemd between jessie and stretch/sid. But
> perhaps you're experiencing a variant of it. Do you have the package
> dbus-user-session installed?

Thanks Peter, I think this is indeed related to the systemd user sessions. Just
to clarify, did you solve your problem by disabling the systemd units, or did
you end up getting it working with them?

Checking my apt logs, I upgraded from gnupg-1.4.19-3 and gnupg2-2.0.28-3 to just
gnupg2-2.1.18-6 on March 18. (So it wasn't a new install of gnupg as I implied
originally.) March 18 is the day I installed pass and started using it, and by
extension, gpg, succesfully. I didn't install dbus-user-session. Then I rebooted
on May 7. My guess is that gpg-agent didn't start running through systemd until
I rebooted.

I installed dbus-user-session this morning, logged out and back in, and the
agent connection still hung. Then I masked the systemd user units per the Debian
README for gpg-agent, and now everything is working again.

I have a working setup now, which is my top priority, although I'm also
interested in figuring out why the default method isn't working. But perhaps
that's more of a question for Debian.


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