Introduction to GnuTLS

The GnuTLS package contains libraries and userspace tools which provide a secure layer over a reliable transport layer. Currently the GnuTLS library implements the proposed standards by the IETF's TLS working group. Quoting from the TLS protocol specification:

The TLS protocol provides communications privacy over the Internet. The protocol allows client/server applications to communicate in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, or message forgery.

GnuTLS provides support for TLS 1.2, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.0, and SSL 3.0 protocols, TLS extensions, including server name and max record size. Additionally, the library supports authentication using the SRP protocol, X.509 certificates and OpenPGP keys, along with support for the TLS Pre-Shared-Keys (PSK) extension, the Inner Application (TLS/IA) extension and X.509 and OpenPGP certificate handling.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.8 platform.

Package Information

GnuTLS Dependencies





Doxygen-1.8.10, GTK-Doc-1.24, Guile-2.0.11, libidn-1.32, texlive-20150521 or install-tl-unx, Unbound-1.5.4 (to build the DANE library), Valgrind-3.10.1 (used during the test suite), autogen, and Trousers (Trusted Platform Module support)



Note that if you do not install libtasn1-4.6, an older version shipped in the GnuTLS tarball will be used instead.

User Notes:

Installation of GnuTLS

Install GnuTLS by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr \
            --with-default-trust-store-file=/etc/ssl/ca-bundle.crt &&

To test the results, issue: make check.

Now, as the root user:

make install

If you did not pass the --enable-gtk-doc parameter to the configure script, you can install the API documentation to the /usr/share/gtk-doc/html/gnutls directory using the following command as the root user:

make -C doc/reference install-data-local

Command Explanations

--with-default-trust-store-file=/etc/ssl/ca-bundle.crt: This switch tells configure where to find the CA Certificates.

--enable-gtk-doc: Use this parameter if GTK-Doc is installed and you wish to rebuild and install the API documentation.

--enable-openssl-compatibility: Use this switch if you wish to build the OpenSSL compatibility library.

--without-p11-kit: use this switch if you have not installed p11-kit.


Installed Programs: certtool, crywrap, danetool, gnutls-cli, gnutls-cli-debug, gnutls-serv, ocsptool, p11tool, psktool, and srptool
Installed Libraries:,,, and /usr/lib/guile/2.0/
Installed Directories: /usr/{include,share/{gtk-doc/html,guile/site}}/gnutls

Short Descriptions


is used to generate X.509 certificates, certificate requests, and private keys.


is a simple wrapper that waits for TLS/SSL connections, and proxies them to an unencrypted location. Only installed if libidn-1.32 is present.


is a tool used to generate and check DNS resource records for the DANE protocol.


is a simple client program to set up a TLS connection to some other computer.


is a simple client program to set up a TLS connection to some other computer and produces very verbose progress results.


is a simple server program that listens to incoming TLS connections.


is a program that can parse and print information about OCSP requests/responses, generate requests and verify responses.


is a program that allows handling data from PKCS #11 smart cards and security modules.


is a simple program that generates random keys for use with TLS-PSK.


is a simple program that emulates the programs in the Stanford SRP (Secure Remote Password) libraries using GnuTLS.

contains the core API functions and X.509 certificate API functions.

Last updated on 2015-09-20 15:38:20 -0700