Introducing OpenPGP keys

An OpenPGP (also called GnuPrivacyGuard) key allows you to sign documents, such as emails or text files, using a digital key.

There are two parts to an OpenPGP key: one public that you share with the world and the other private, which you should guard closely. Both are standard text files that make up a digital signature.

In Launchpad, you can use your OpenPGP key to identify yourself when using the bug tracker's email interface, when uploading distribution packages and when signing a code of conduct.

Generating your key in Ubuntu

The easiest way to generate a new OpenPGP key in Ubuntu is to use the Passwords and Encryption Keys tool. If you are using Ubuntu 10.04 or an earlier version, it is located at Applications > Accessories > Passwords and Encryption Keys. In Ubuntu 10.10 and later versions, it is located at System > Preferences > Passwords and Encryption Keys.

Step 1 open Passwords and Encryption Keys.

Step 2 Select File > New, select PGP Key and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Now you'll see your new key listed in the Passwords and Encryption Keys tool.

Publishing your key

Your key is useful only if other people can verify items that you sign. By publishing your key to a keyserver, which acts as a directory of people's public keys, you can make your public key available to anyone else.

Before you add your key to Launchpad, you need to push it to the Ubuntu keyserver.

Using Passwords and Encryption Keys

Step 1 Open Passwords and Encryption Keys.

Step 2 Select the My Personal Keys tab, select your key.

Step 3 Select Remote > Sync and Publish Keys from the menu. Choose the Sync button. (You may need to add hkp:// to your key servers if you are not using Ubuntu.)

It can take up to thirty minutes before your key is available to Launchpad. After that time, you're ready to import your new key into Launchpad!

Renewing your key

You may have set your key to expire. You can update your key and republish it.

Step 1 Open Passwords and Encryption Keys.

Step 2 Select the My Personal Keys tab, select your key, and open the property window by pressing Space Bar our double clicking with your pointer.

Step 3 Set a new expiration date or choose never.

See the Publishing your key section above.

More about GPG

Importing Your PGP Key > at Launchpad Help has more information about using OpenPGP with Launchpad and provides examples using the GPG command found on most Linux distributions. Read the Ubuntu community's guide to OpenPGP keys > to learn about how to other uses.