[gnutls-help] GnuTLS cryptographic API questions

Ted Zlatanov tzz at lifelogs.com
Mon Apr 3 16:01:33 CEST 2017

On Fri, 31 Mar 2017 20:58:26 +0200 Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos <nmav at gnutls.org> wrote: 

NM> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 3:27 PM, Ted Zlatanov <tzz at lifelogs.com> wrote:
>> So that's perfect. I had a feeling I was missing something :) Do you
>> think those functions could also be listed under the Cryptographic API
>> sections I cited?

NM> It's a historical reason they are in the Core API (crypto API didn't
NM> exist at the time). Now moving them to crypto.h would break existing
NM> software. I've added some text that several functions may not be
NM> listed in crypto API. If you have a better suggestion I'd appreciate a
NM> merge request.

Understood, and thanks. I'll do that.

NM> There are separate gnutls_mac_list() and gnutls_digest_list() which
NM> can be used to obtain the different sets.
>> Does it make sense to correlate MACs and digests, since digests are
>> currently a subset of MACs? You do that with AEAD ciphers (a subcase of
>> general ciphers).

NM> This correlation is only for HMACs. MACs like poly1305 and UMAC have
NM> no equivalent digest.

Right, so let me ask another way--can we say "these MACs are HMACs?"
through the API? It's unnecessary from the Emacs side to have a separate
list of digest algorithms if they are simply a subset of the MAC

The way I'm currently doing it is to get the MAC name and then try to
get a digest ID with the same name. If it works, I associate that digest
ID with the MAC, resulting in something like this plist:

"SHA224" (:mac-algorithm-id 9 :type gnutls-mac-algorithm :mac-algorithm-keysize 28 :mac-algorithm-noncesize 0 :digest-algorithm-id 9)

Another usage question: I can eliminate the numeric IDs and always get
them from the name when the functions are called. The risk of keeping
them in the plist is minimal, since the numbers won't change, but they
are exposing low-level implementation details to users. What would you
suggest? Is the overhead of getting the numeric ID from the name

I'll ask here for a review of my code when it's ready, right now it's
still in progress (I have MACs and digests working, with tests). Thank
you for your kind assistance.


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