Introduction to GnuPG

The GnuPG package is GNU's tool for secure communication and data storage. It can be used to encrypt data and to create digital signatures. It includes an advanced key management facility and is compliant with the proposed OpenPGP Internet standard as described in RFC2440 and the S/MIME standard as described by several RFCs. GnuPG 2 is the stable version of GnuPG integrating support for OpenPGP and S/MIME.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if LFS or dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the books.

Package Information

GnuPG 2 Dependencies


libassuan-3.0.1, libgcrypt-1.11.0, libksba-1.6.7, npth-1.7, and OpenLDAP-2.6.8



cURL-8.9.0, Fuse-3.16.2, ImageMagick-7.1.1-28 (for the convert utility, used for generating the documentation), libusb-1.0.27, an MTA, SQLite-3.46.0, texlive-20240312 (or install-tl-unx), fig2dev (for generating documentation), and GNU adns

Installation of GnuPG

Install GnuPG by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

../configure --prefix=/usr           \
             --localstatedir=/var    \
             --sysconfdir=/etc       \
             --docdir=/usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5 &&
make &&

makeinfo --html --no-split -I doc -o doc/gnupg_nochunks.html ../doc/gnupg.texi &&
makeinfo --plaintext       -I doc -o doc/gnupg.txt           ../doc/gnupg.texi &&
make -C doc html

If you have texlive-20240312 installed and you wish to create documentation in the pdf format, issue the following command:

make -C doc pdf

To test the results, issue: make check.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&

install -v -m755 -d /usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5/html            &&
install -v -m644    doc/gnupg_nochunks.html \
                    /usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5/html/gnupg.html &&
install -v -m644    ../doc/*.texi doc/gnupg.txt \
                    /usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5 &&
install -v -m644    doc/gnupg.html/* \

If you created the pdf format of the documentation, install them using the following command as the root user:

install -v -m644 doc/gnupg.pdf \

Command Explanations

mkdir build && cd build: the Gnupg2 developers recommend to build the package in a dedicated directory.

--docdir=/usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5: This switch changes the default docdir to /usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5.

--enable-all-tests: This switch allows more tests to be run with make check.

--enable-g13: This switch enables building the g13 program.


Installed Programs: addgnupghome, applygnupgdefaults, dirmngr, dirmngr-client, g13 (optional), gpg-agent, gpg-card, gpg-connect-agent, gpg, gpgconf, gpgparsemail, gpgscm, gpgsm, gpgsplit, gpgtar, gpgv, gpg-wks-client, gpg-wks-server, kbxutil, and watchgnupg
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /usr/share/doc/gnupg-2.4.5 and /usr/share/gnupg

Short Descriptions


is used to create and populate a user's ~/.gnupg directories


is a wrapper script used to run gpgconf with the --apply-defaults parameter on all user's GnuPG home directories


is a tool that takes care of accessing the OpenPGP keyservers


is a tool to contact a running dirmngr and test whether a certificate has been revoked


is a tool to create, mount or unmount an encrypted file system container (optional)


is a daemon used to manage secret (private) keys independently from any protocol. It is used as a backend for gpg and gpgsm as well as for a couple of other utilities


is a tool to manage smart cards and tokens


is a utility used to communicate with a running gpg-agent


is the OpenPGP part of the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). It is a tool used to provide digital encryption and signing services using the OpenPGP standard


is a utility used to automatically and reasonably safely query and modify configuration files in the ~/.gnupg home directory. It is designed not to be invoked manually by the user, but automatically by graphical user interfaces


is a utility currently only useful for debugging. Run it with --help for usage information


executes the given scheme program or spawns an interactive shell


is a tool similar to gpg used to provide digital encryption and signing services on X.509 certificates and the CMS protocol. It is mainly used as a backend for S/MIME mail processing


splits an OpenPGP message into packets


is a tool to encrypt or sign files into an archive


is a verify only version of gpg


is a client for the Web Key Service protocol


provides a server for the Web Key Service protocol


is used to list, export and import Keybox data


is used to listen to a Unix Domain socket created by any of the GnuPG tools