OpenPGP is the most widely used email encryption standard in the world. It is defined by the OpenPGP Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Proposed Standard RFC 4880. The OpenPGP standard was originally derived from PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), first created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991.

OpenPGP is not just used for email encryption however, but also for encryption and verifying the authenticity and integrity of files and for authentication. The most commonly used software for working with OpenPGP in Debian is GnuPG. There are also many software packages that use GnuPG in their backend to provide cryptographic features, and alternatives to GnuPG such as netpgp (wnpp) also exist.

OpenPGP-compatible Software in Debian


GnuPG is a complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard. GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications. A wealth of frontend applications and libraries are available. Version 2 of GnuPG also provides support for S/MIME and Secure Shell (ssh).

More information about GnuPG can be found on its dedicated wiki page.

Other Software

Upstream Name





GPG support for Thunderbird and Debian Icedove



OpenPGP library in Haskell



OpenPGP tools built using hOpenPGP



OpenPGP key signing and exchange for humans



leverage the OpenPGP web of trust for SSH and TLS authentication



OpenPGP Key Server



privacy-friendly helper to refresh a GnuPG keyring



GNOME front end for GnuPG

Note: This list is incomplete, help in completing it is appreciated.

Usage by the Debian Project

When joining the Debian project, developers need to identify themselves by providing an OpenPGP key that is signed by at least two existing members of the project. Contributions to the Debian archive are cryptographically signed using the developer's OpenPGP key to protect against forgeries.

The Debian Keyring and other keyrings maintained by keyring-maint are the keyrings that contain those OpenPGP keys which belong to Debian Developers (uploading and non-uploading) and Debian Maintainers.

It is suggested to use a Clean Room environment, such as a Live CD to manage PGP private keys.

There are some best practices for OpenPGP available.

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