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Getting and Installing Command Line PGP
Written By: Chuck Steele

The following is a description of how I got a Linux version of the PGP encryption program, how I installed it, and a few observations about quirks in the program. The Linux version of PGP that I got is PGPcmdfw_6.5.2_Linux.i386.rpm and it offers the options of 1024 or 2048 bit encryption. The 2048 bit option is compatible with people using PGP 2.6.2 with an extra command that will be noted later in REMARKS and QUIRKS.

Plan ahead and decide in which directory you want to download the program. Just for grins I used the mkdir command in an xterminal and made a directory called siva after the Hundu god of destruction and creation.

Use a browser to go find a good place to get the program. I used Google and typed "pgp|linux" and soon found my way to an MIT site and found the Linux version to download to my directory called siva. The file that downloaded was PGPcmdln_6.5.2_Lnx.FW.rpm.tar.

Next, in an xterminal and in my directory siva I used the command:

tar -x PGPcmdln_6.5.2_Lnx.FW.rpm.tar

I then had the file PGPcmdfw_6.5.2_Linux.i386.rpm in the directory siva.

To install the program I referred to a good install guide at /usr/doc/PGP-6.5.2 named PGPCmdLineInstallGuide.pdf.

At a xterminal I used the following command to install PGP:

rpm -iv PGPcmdfw_6.5.2_Linux.i386.rpm

REMARKS --- The command line Linux PGP v. 6.5.2 is very similar to the DOS v. 2.6.2. When you generate your secret key you have the option of 1024 bit or 2048 bit encryption. All of the people I correspond with use the DOS v. 2.6.2 and after I read that there was a command you could use while encrypting that would allow you to have the 2048 bit encryption be compatible with 1024 bit users I chose the stronger option. An example:

If you were encrypting a file called "rome.txt" to a user called "Attilla" who had 2048 bit capability I would type:

pgp -eat rome.txt attilla

If you were encrypting a file called "rome.txt" to a user called "Attilla" who had 1024 bit capability I would type:

pgp -eatcompatible rome.txt attilla

QUIRKS --- When you encrypt a file you usually wind up with a file name like "rome.pgp" or "rome.asc" depending on the options you use. I found that when using the "compatible" command I wound up with a file named "mcompatible.asc" every time. This can be goofy because if you do not rename the file the people with whom you correspond are going to wind up with a lot of files called "mcompatible.asc".

There are several approaches to dealing with this quirk but here is what I did. In siva I typed:

touch rome.asc

Creating an empty file called "rome.asc" and then typed:

mv mcompatible.asc rome.asc


PGP is good stuff and the ability to correspond with relative security is inherently good. I like using it with e-mail: E-mail is a post card but PGP can make it a darn good envelope. With unencrypted e-mail you can tell your sweetie about your affection for her. With PGP you can be a lot more specific how you intend to demonstrate your affection.

Chuck Steele

Version: 2.6.2


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