"GnuPG Made Easy (GPGME) is a library designed to make access to GnuPG easier for applications. " (from their homepage)


Encrypting, signing, decrypting, all those nice things of gnupg are supported by gpgme, a library that should make access to gnupg easy. When I started using gpgme I was searching for some easy to use examples and did not find some. That's the reason why I'm writing this article. This article assumes that you are familar with the programming language C and have gpgme already installed (you can verify that by running "gpgme-config --libs", which should return something like "-lgpgme -lgpg-error" and not "zsh: command not found: gpgme-config"). This document was initially written on 2007-08-05 and was last modified on the 2007-08-05.

Compiler and linker options

When using gpgme, you've to specify some flags to the compiler and linker. One big mistake is to ignore the "Largefile Support (LFS)" section in the manual. If you do not want to run into strange problems read it. One my system I had to specify "-D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64" to the c compiler. To make life a bit easier, I am using a very small Makefile for my tests:

# Test Makefile for gpgme test application
# Nico Schottelius, 2007-08-05, GPLv3
flags=$(shell gpgme-config --libs --cflags)

gpgme1: gpgme1.c
   gcc -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -g ${flags} gpgme1.c -o $@

gpgme2: gpgme2.c
   gcc -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -g ${flags} $< -o $@
   rm -f gpgme*

The first program: Export all available public keys You can also get the raw file gpgme-export-all.c. I compiled it with "gcc -Wall -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -g -lgpgme -lgpg-error gpgme-export-all.c"

/* gpgme-example1:
 *    Nico Schottelius, 2007-08-05, GPLv3
 *    export all public keys

#include <gpgme.h>   /* gpgme             */
#include <stdio.h>   /* printf            */
#include <unistd.h>  /* write             */
#include <errno.h>   /* errno             */
#include <locale.h>  /* locale support    */

#define SIZE 1024

/* USE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 (at least) on Debian!  */

int main()
   char *p;
   char buf[SIZE];
   size_t read_bytes;
   int tmp;
   gpgme_ctx_t ceofcontext;
   gpgme_error_t err;
   gpgme_data_t data;

   gpgme_engine_info_t enginfo;

   /* The function `gpgme_check_version' must be called before any other
    * function in the library, because it initializes the thread support
    * subsystem in GPGME. (from the info page) */
   setlocale (LC_ALL, "");
   p = (char *) gpgme_check_version(NULL);
   /* set locale, because tests do also */
   gpgme_set_locale(NULL, LC_CTYPE, setlocale (LC_CTYPE, NULL));

   /* check for OpenPGP support */
   err = gpgme_engine_check_version(GPGME_PROTOCOL_OpenPGP);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 1;

   p = (char *) gpgme_get_protocol_name(GPGME_PROTOCOL_OpenPGP);
   printf("Protocol name: %s\n",p);

   /* get engine information */
   err = gpgme_get_engine_info(&enginfo);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 2;
   printf("file=%s, home=%s\n",enginfo->file_name,enginfo->home_dir);

   /* create our own context */
   err = gpgme_new(&ceofcontext);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 3;

   /* set protocol to use in our context */
   err = gpgme_set_protocol(ceofcontext,GPGME_PROTOCOL_OpenPGP);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 4;

   /* set engine info in our context; I changed it for ceof like this:

   err = gpgme_ctx_set_engine_info (ceofcontext, GPGME_PROTOCOL_OpenPGP,

      but I'll use standard values for this example: */

   err = gpgme_ctx_set_engine_info (ceofcontext, GPGME_PROTOCOL_OpenPGP,
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 5;

   /* do ascii armor data, so output is readable in console */
   gpgme_set_armor(ceofcontext, 1);

   /* create buffer for data exchange with gpgme*/
   err = gpgme_data_new(&data);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 6;

   /* set encoding for the buffer... */
   err = gpgme_data_set_encoding(data,GPGME_DATA_ENCODING_ARMOR);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 7;

   /* verify encoding: not really needed */
   tmp = gpgme_data_get_encoding(data);
      printf("encode ok\n");
   } else {
      printf("encode broken\n");

   /* with NULL it exports all public keys */
   err = gpgme_op_export(ceofcontext,NULL,0,data);
   if(err != GPG_ERR_NO_ERROR) return 8;

   read_bytes = gpgme_data_seek (data, 0, SEEK_END);
   printf("end is=%d\n",read_bytes);
   if(read_bytes == -1) {
      p = (char *) gpgme_strerror(errno);
      printf("data-seek-err: %s\n",p);
      return 9;
   read_bytes = gpgme_data_seek (data, 0, SEEK_SET);
   printf("start is=%d (should be 0)\n",read_bytes);

   /* write keys to stderr */
   while ((read_bytes = gpgme_data_read (data, buf, SIZE)) > 0) {
   /* append \n, so that there is really a line feed */

   /* free data */

   /* free context */

   return 0;

[[!tags programming]]