Security Portal: Kurt’s Closet: GnuPG and freedom

As you may or may not have heard, GnuPG 1.0 has been
released. If you haven’t heard, GnuPG is a GPL’ed cryptographic
program that uses no patented algorithms, and happens to be
perfectly compatible with PGP.
I interviewed Werner Koch (via
email), the heart and soul of the GnuPG project.”

“Kurt: Why did you feel the need to write GnuPG?”

“Werner: I think it started at a conference in Aachen/Germany
where Richard Stallman asked the non European Programmers to work
on crypto software, now that the Diffie-Hellmann was void (about
fall 1997).”

“A few weeks later I got bored by the programming tasks I was
doing at that time and suddenly started to write a parser for PGP
keyrings. After I could decrypt PGP 2 messages I remembered, that a
PGP like program has been on the GNU task list for a long time. I
contacted them and started to write a PGP based on ElGamal (a
Diffie Hellmann variant). And it was quite interesting as I have
been interested in cryptography for quite a while…”