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2. Installation

2.1 Sources for GnuPG.

The official download site is: GnuPG Homepage. At that location you will find links to mirror sites.

Due to legal restrictions it is not allowed to download GnuPG from servers based in the USA. The USA imposes export restrictions on the export of cryptographic software. This is why PGP is always available in an international and a national (for the USA) version. For the international version the source code has been exported in a printed format as a book. In Europe (Oslo) it has been scanned. More information on that can be found on International PGP Homepage. The international version of PGP is free to be imported into the United States as long as it is not reexported again.

If you already have an installed version of GnuPG or PGP, you should check the signature of the file (see Signatures).

2.2 Configuration

You can obtain GnuPG as a Debian Package, as a RPM package (Redhat Package Manager) or in source code. GnuPG is included in the latest Fedora/Redhat Linux distributions. To check if you have GnuPG installed on your system, use:

rpm -q gnupg

The packages are installed as binary files with the tools needed for Linux platforms. When you need GnuPG for different platforms you need to compile this yourself. It would be appreciated when you make alternative installation methods for different platforms available to the general public.

Since development for the major part takes place with Linux (x86), translation to different systems should not be regarded as being a problem. The actual list of known operating systems that support GnuPG can be found on GnuPG Homepage. The procedure as described below is pretty platform independent. This procedure can be used to install GnuPG out of a source code tar-ball.

Unpack the tar-ball with the following commands, For sources compressed with gzip use:

tar xvzf gnupg-?.?.?.tar.gz

and for sources compressed with bzip2 use:

tar xvjf gnupg-?.?.?.tar.bz2

After the unpack, please step into the directory containing the source code. Then type


When doing this nothing special should happen. With

./configure --help

you can view the available configuration settings for compilation. If problems occur that have to do with internationalization (gettext), you can include a version that is delivered with the source code by using the option --with-included-gettext or switch it of by using the --disable-NLS option.

2.3 Compile

After this we want to compile the stuff by typing:

This should work without any problems. If any problems occur take the following steps (in the same order as described here): First try to solve this yourself (of course also by using the available documentation). Then make sure that your problem is not a known bug (check the BUGS file on Then ask someone you know. If these steps do not solve your problem post a question to the GnuPG-mailing list (see Informationsources). If the problem is path related, you should try make clean, then run configure again and retry to compile. If that doesn't work it is time to panic.

2.4 Installation

Now type:

make install
to actually copy the program and the man-pages into the installation directory. If you didn't change the installation directory when you did ./configure the usr/local/share/gnupg/ will be the installation directory. You can find this directory in the file options.skel. When you change this options.skel. If you copy this to ~/.gnupg/options the appropriate adjustments will be used as standard. Copying should occur automatically when creating ~/.gnupg/. All possible options are well documented and explaining them here would not be useful.

You can run GnuPG as suid root. So the program runs with all the rights the superuser has. By doing this you exclude the possibility that certain parts of the program are stored externally and then could be read by anyone. It is not feasible for me to judge on the value of this risk. But running the program as suid root one should be alert to the danger of Trojan horses. Since a Trojan horse running as superuser can damage an entire system. If for this reason (or any other reason) you choose not run GnuPG as root you can switch off the warning by setting no-secmem-warning in ~/.gnupg/options.

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