Home » How are the GPG usage flags defined in the key details listing?

How are the GPG usage flags defined in the key details listing?


Ok, the gpg manual does not seem to mention these abbreviations. Thus, one has to look at the source.

For example under Debian/Ubuntu:

$ apt-get source gnupg2
$ cd gnupg2-2.0.17
$ cscope -bR
$ grep 'usage: %' . -r --exclude '*po*'
$ vim g10/keyedit.c
jump to usage: %
jump to definition of `usagestr_from_pk`

From the code one can derive following table:

Constant              Character

Thus, for example, usage: SCA means that the sub-key can be used for signing, for creating a certificate and authentication purposes.

The layout of the --edit-key listing is not documented (not that I could find anyway). The abbreviations you mention however are, somewhere in the info pages (info gpg).

I searched for S: and found that I actually wanted to search for usage:.

In “GPG Key related Options”:

4.2.1 How to change the configuration

These options are used to change the configuration and are usually
found in the option file.

'--list-options parameters'


      Show usage information for keys and subkeys in the standard
      key listing.  This is a list of letters indicating the allowed
      usage for a key ('E'=encryption, 'S'=signing,
      'C'=certification, 'A'=authentication).  Defaults to no.

So, doing gpg -k --list-options show-usage 1A3ABKEY will show you something like this:

pub   rsa4096/1A3ABKEY 2015-01-25 [SC]
uid         [ultimate] Some Key
sub   rsa4096/4B907KEY 2015-09-19 [S]
sub   rsa4096/F9A41KET 2015-09-19 [E]

Some more info is found in “Unattended Usage of GPG”


 Space or comma delimited list of key usages.  Allowed values are
 'encrypt', 'sign', and 'auth'.  This is used to generate the key
 flags.  Please make sure that the algorithm is capable of this
 usage.  Note that OpenPGP requires that all primary keys are
 capable of certification, so no matter what usage is given here,
 the 'cert' flag will be on.  If no 'Key-Usage' is specified and the
 'Key-Type' is not 'default', all allowed usages for that particular
 algorithm are used; if it is not given but 'default' is used the
 usage will be 'sign'.

So, while not immediately apparent, the info is there, somewhere, on your system. If man does not help you, try man -k and/or info.

These key flags are defined in the OpenPGP spec Key Flags

(N octets of flags)

This subpacket contains a list of binary flags that hold information
about a key. It is a string of octets, and an implementation MUST
NOT assume a fixed size. This is so it can grow over time. If a
list is shorter than an implementation expects, the unstated flags
are considered to be zero. The defined flags are as follows:

   First octet:

   0x01 - This key may be used to certify other keys.

   0x02 - This key may be used to sign data.

   0x04 - This key may be used to encrypt communications.

   0x08 - This key may be used to encrypt storage.

   0x10 - The private component of this key may have been split
          by a secret-sharing mechanism.

   0x20 - This key may be used for authentication.

   0x80 - The private component of this key may be in the
          possession of more than one person.

Related Solutions

Joining bash arguments into single string with spaces

[*] I believe that this does what you want. It will put all the arguments in one string, separated by spaces, with single quotes around all: str="'$*'" $* produces all the scripts arguments separated by the first character of $IFS which, by default, is a space....

AddTransient, AddScoped and AddSingleton Services Differences

TL;DR Transient objects are always different; a new instance is provided to every controller and every service. Scoped objects are the same within a request, but different across different requests. Singleton objects are the same for every object and every...

How to download package not install it with apt-get command?

Use --download-only: sudo apt-get install --download-only pppoe This will download pppoe and any dependencies you need, and place them in /var/cache/apt/archives. That way a subsequent apt-get install pppoe will be able to complete without any extra downloads....

What defines the maximum size for a command single argument?

Answers Definitely not a bug. The parameter which defines the maximum size for one argument is MAX_ARG_STRLEN. There is no documentation for this parameter other than the comments in binfmts.h: /* * These are the maximum length and maximum number of strings...

Bulk rename, change prefix

I'd say the simplest it to just use the rename command which is common on many Linux distributions. There are two common versions of this command so check its man page to find which one you have: ## rename from Perl (common in Debian systems -- Ubuntu, Mint,...

Output from ls has newlines but displays on a single line. Why?

When you pipe the output, ls acts differently. This fact is hidden away in the info documentation: If standard output is a terminal, the output is in columns (sorted vertically) and control characters are output as question marks; otherwise, the output is...

mv: Move file only if destination does not exist

mv -vn file1 file2. This command will do what you want. You can skip -v if you want. -v makes it verbose - mv will tell you that it moved file if it moves it(useful, since there is possibility that file will not be moved) -n moves only if file2 does not exist....

Is it possible to store and query JSON in SQLite?

SQLite 3.9 introduced a new extension (JSON1) that allows you to easily work with JSON data . Also, it introduced support for indexes on expressions, which (in my understanding) should allow you to define indexes on your JSON data as well. PostgreSQL has some...

Combining tail && journalctl

You could use: journalctl -u service-name -f -f, --follow Show only the most recent journal entries, and continuously print new entries as they are appended to the journal. Here I've added "service-name" to distinguish this answer from others; you substitute...

how can shellshock be exploited over SSH?

One example where this can be exploited is on servers with an authorized_keys forced command. When adding an entry to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys, you can prefix the line with command="foo" to force foo to be run any time that ssh public key is used. With this...

Why doesn’t the tilde (~) expand inside double quotes?

The reason, because inside double quotes, tilde ~ has no special meaning, it's treated as literal. POSIX defines Double-Quotes as: Enclosing characters in double-quotes ( "" ) shall preserve the literal value of all characters within the double-quotes, with the...

What is GNU Info for?

GNU Info was designed to offer documentation that was comprehensive, hyperlinked, and possible to output to multiple formats. Man pages were available, and they were great at providing printed output. However, they were designed such that each man page had a...

Set systemd service to execute after fstab mount

a CIFS network location is mounted via /etc/fstab to /mnt/ on boot-up. No, it is not. Get this right, and the rest falls into place naturally. The mount is handled by a (generated) systemd mount unit that will be named something like mnt-wibble.mount. You can...

Merge two video clips into one, placing them next to each other

To be honest, using the accepted answer resulted in a lot of dropped frames for me. However, using the hstack filter_complex produced perfectly fluid output: ffmpeg -i left.mp4 -i right.mp4 -filter_complex hstack output.mp4 ffmpeg -i input1.mp4 -i input2.mp4...

How portable are /dev/stdin, /dev/stdout and /dev/stderr?

It's been available on Linux back into its prehistory. It is not POSIX, although many actual shells (including AT&T ksh and bash) will simulate it if it's not present in the OS; note that this simulation only works at the shell level (i.e. redirection or...

How can I increase the number of inodes in an ext4 filesystem?

It seems that you have a lot more files than normal expectation. I don't know whether there is a solution to change the inode table size dynamically. I'm afraid that you need to back-up your data, and create new filesystem, and restore your data. To create new...

Why doesn’t cp have a progress bar like wget?

The tradition in unix tools is to display messages only if something goes wrong. I think this is both for design and practical reasons. The design is intended to make it obvious when something goes wrong: you get an error message, and it's not drowned in...