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6. Front ends

To make life a lot easier in using GnuPG, you have a wide choice of programs that either use or support GnuPG encryption. There are graphical front ends that put your key administration at the click of a mouse button and many MUAs (Mail User Agents) let you encrypt and sign your Email messages seamlessly. A nearly full list of front ends is available from the GnuPG Frontends page. We will highlight a few of them in this section.

6.1 Graphical interfaces


GPA, the GNU Privacy Assistant is a graphical user interface for the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). This is the standard graphical front end, provided by the GnuPG project. With GPA, you can view your keyring, import and export keys, generate keys, edit key properties and encrypt, sign or decrypt documents. Installing GPA is easy. Download the tarball, unpack and do the usual

./configure; make; make install.
Start the program by typing


Seahorse is a GNOME front-end for GnuPG. It can be used for sign, encrypt, verify and decrypt text and files. The text can be taken from the clipboard, or written directly in the little editor it has. Seahorse is also a key manager, which can be used to edit almost all the properties of the keys stored in your key rings. You can install Seahorse from a Debian package (RPMs are not available at this time) or from the source tarball. Installing from source is like any other package. Download, untar, configure and make install. The installation puts seahorse in /usr/local and puts a menu item in the Gnome 'Applications' menu.


KGPG is a front end for GnuPG which is based upon KDE. KGPG supports key signing, importing and exporting. It can also work with other KDE tools interactively like konquerer.

6.2 Email programs

Most popular Email programs (or MUAs) support GnuPG. Among these are at least the following:

There are probably more; it is hardly possible to try them all.

Using GnuPG support in your mail program lets you decrypt Email messages sent to you that are encrypted with your public key, sign your messages so the receiving party can make sure you are the author and encrypt your Email with the public keys of your recipients.

Mozilla and Enigmail

Mozilla does not have GnuPG support in itself. To use GnuPG encryption with Mozilla, you must install a plug-in, such as EnigMail. Enigmail is a "plugin" for Mozilla/Netscape Mail which allows users to access the authentication and encryption features provided by the popular GPG and PGP software. Enigmail can encrypt/sign mail when sending, and also decrypt/authenticate received mail. It can also import/export public keys.

Enigmail can easily be installed by Mozilla extension management. The only thing you should do is to click on the proper link related with your Mozilla version on the Download page. Unfortunately, RPMs for enigmail are not available.


Evolution is a well-known MUA for Linux and has fairly good GnuPG support. It can get e-mails encrypted and decrypt them. It also has built in key signing and key authorising options. It supports S/MIME but inline pgp support (which is not standard but used by some MUAs) is not implemented. To configure the GnuPG settings you should check the mail account preferences.


Kmail, the standard Email program for KDE has integrated support for GnuPG and PGP encryption. To set things up so you can sign and decrypt messages, you have to enter your GnuPG user ID in the 'Identity' section of the Kmail configuration. When you send a new message, the message will not be signed or encrypted by default. You have to check the 'Sign message' and 'Encrypt message' buttons in the tool bar.

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