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Release Digest: GNU, December 24, 2003

Dec 24, 2003, 23:30 (0 Talkback[s])

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GnuPG 1.2.4


We are pleased to announce the availability of a new stable GnuPG release: Version 1.2.4

The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is GNU's tool for secure communication and data storage. It is a complete and free replacement of PGP and can be used to encrypt data and to create digital signatures. It includes an advanced key management facility and is compliant with the proposed OpenPGP Internet standard as described in RFC2440.

This is mainly a bug fix release; for details see the "What's New" section below.

Getting the Software

GnuPG 1.2.4 can be downloaded from one of the GnuPG mirror sites or direct from . The list of mirrors can be found at . Note, that GnuPG is not available at

On the mirrors you should find the follwing files in the gnupg directory:

gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2 (2321k)

GnuPG source compressed using BZIP2 and OpenPGP signature.

gnupg-1.2.4.tar.gz (3370k)

GnuPG source compressed using GZIP and OpenPGP signature.

gnupg-1.2.3-1.2.4.diff.gz (859k)

A patch file to upgrade a 1.2.3 GnuPG source. This file is signed; you have to use GnuPG > 0.9.5 to verify the signature. GnuPG has a feature to allow clear signed patch files which can still be processed by the patch utility.

Select one of them. To shorten the download time, you probably want to get the BZIP2 compressed file. Please try another mirror if exceptional your mirror is not yet up to date.

In the binary directory, you should find these files: (1405k)

GnuPG compiled for Microsoft Windows and OpenPGP signature. Note that this is a command line version and comes without a graphical installer tool. You have to use an UNZIP utility to extract the files and install them manually. The included file README.W32 has further instructions.=20

Checking the Integrity

In order to check that the version of GnuPG which you are going to install is an original and unmodified one, you can do it in one of the following ways:

  • If you already have a trusted version of GnuPG installed, you can simply check the supplied signature. For example to check the signature of the file gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2 you would use this command:

    gpg --verify gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2.sig

    This checks whether the signature file matches the source file. You should see a message indicating that the signature is good and made by that signing key. Make sure that you have the right key, either by checking the fingerprint of that key with other sources or by checking that the key has been signed by a trustworthy other key. Note, that you can retrieve the signing key using "finger wk 'at'" or "dd9jn 'at'" or using the keyservers. I just prolonged the expiration date; thus you need a fresh copy of that key RSN.

    Never use a GnuPG version you just downloaded to check the integrity of the source - use an existing GnuPG installation!

  • If you are not able to use an old version of GnuPG, you have to verify the MD5 checksum. Assuming you downloaded the file gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2, you would run the md5sum command like this:

    md5sum gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2

    and check that the output matches the first line from the following list:

    16d0b575812060328f8e677b7f0047cc gnupg-1.2.4.tar.bz2
    adfab529010ba55533c8e538c0b042a2 gnupg-1.2.4.tar.gz
    8186b9a52bd65e87ce65824cf62d3916 gnupg-1.2.3-1.2.4.diff.gz

Upgrade Information

If you are upgrading from a version prior to 1.0.7, you should run the script tools/convert-from-106 once. Please note also that due to a bug in versions prior to 1.0.6 it may not be possible to downgrade to such versions unless you apply the patch .

If you have any problems, please see the FAQ and the mailing list archive at Please direct questions to the mailing list.

What's New

Here is a list of major user visible changes since 1.2.2:

  • Added read-only support for BZIP2 compression. This should be considered experimental, and is only available if the libbzip2 library <> is installed.
  • Added the ability to handle messages that can be decrypted with either a passphrase or a secret key.
  • Most support for Elgamal sign+encrypt keys has been removed. Old signatures may still be verified, and existing encrypted messages may still be decrypted, but no new signatures may be issued by, and no new messages will be encrypted to, these keys. Elgamal sign+encrypt keys are not part of the web of trust. The only new message that can be generated by an Elgamal sign+encrypt key is a key revocation. Note that in a future version of GnuPG (currently planned for 1.4), all support for Elgamal sign+encrypt keys will be removed, so take this opportunity to revoke old keys now.
  • A Russian translation is included again as well as a new Bela-Russian translation.


GnuPG comes with support for 27 languages:

American English Indonesian (id)
Bela-Russian (be) Italian (it)
Catalan (ca) Japanese (ja)
Czech (cs) Polish (pl)[*]
Danish (da)[*] Brazilian Portuguese (pt_BR)[*]
Dutch (nl)[*] Portuguese (pt)[*]
Esperanto (eo)[*] Romanian (ro)
Estonian (et) Russian (ru)
Finnish (fi)[*] Slovak (sk)
French (fr) Spanish (es)
Galician (gl) Swedish (sv)[*]
German (de) Traditional Chinese (zh_TW)[*]
Greek (el) Turkish (tr)
Hungarian (hu)  

Languages marked with [*] were not updated for this release and you may notice untranslated messages. Many thanks to the translators for their ongoing support of GnuPG.

Future Directions

GnuPG 1.2.x is the current stable branch and won't undergo any serious changes. We will just fix bugs and add compatibility fixes as required.

GnuPG 1.3.x is the version were we do most new stuff and it will lead to the next stable version 1.4 not too far away.

GnuPG 1.9.x is brand new and flagged as experimental. This version merged the code from the Aegypten project and thus it includes the gpg-agent, a smartcard daemon and gpg's S/MIME cousin gpgsm. The design is different to the previous versions and we won't support any ancient systems - thus POSIX compatibility will be an absolute requirement for supported platforms. 1.9 is based on the current 1.3 code and has been released to have software ready to play with the forthcoming OpenPGP smartcard.

The OpenPGP smartcard is a specification of an ISO 7816 based application to generate or import keys into a smartcard and provide all functionality to use this card with OpenPGP. The specification features 3 1024 bit RSA keys (signing, decryption and authentication) as well as utility data objects to make integration easy. GnuPG 1.3.x supports this card; see .

Please consider to buy maintenance points to help with the development; see

Merry Christmas and happy New Year,

The GnuPG team (David, Stefan, Timo and Werner)