GPA

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GS3
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GPA

Post by GS3 » Sat May 26, 2018 7:12 pm

I have spent the last many hours fumbling around with GPA. It seems I had installed it some time ago and played around with it and probably abandoned it in frustration. Today it was suggested to me in another thread about VirtualBox and when I went to install it I found it was already there. At first I was getting some errors which I think may have been a problem with the name of my computer needing to be in the hosts file. Why that is so is a mystery to me but now it seems the error has gone away. But I am still having a very mysterious issue:

If I open a terminal and type"gpa" or "sudo gpa" I get only the GPA clipboard but not the full GPA GUI. This had me confused for a long while until I discovered that ...

If I open a terminal window and do "sudo -i" to get elevated privileges and then do "gpa" then I get the full GPA GUI window. I would think the effect would be the same as doing "sudo gpa".

Why not?

At the end of the day I want to create a new launcher on the desktop which will launch GPA but a launcher with exec line "sudo gpa" won't do it.

E.T.A.: I am very frustrated with this and have already wasted more time than it is worth. I guess running gpa from "sudo -i" is running it as root and running it from a normal terminal is running it as user but it is like I am starting different programs. They behave differently. Specially, the window that pops up to create a key is different in both cases. On the other hand in both cases I get an error when I try to create a key.
createkey01.jpg
Last edited by GS3 on Sun May 27, 2018 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Sun May 27, 2018 2:39 am

It seems I installed gpa about ten months ago and I played a bit and abandoned it and forgot about it. Now I went to install it and I find it is already there. I forget why I abandoned it but seeing the difficulties I am having this second time around it looks like I am wasting my time and the result will be the same. I keep having problems and getting errors. I have removed and reinstalled gpa but the problems remain.

I have the problem mentioned in the preceding post.

Plus, when I try to create a key I get the error in this pop-up.
error224.jpg
error224.jpg (11.43 KiB) Viewed 471 times
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Re: GPA

Post by all41 » Sun May 27, 2018 7:50 pm

If I open a terminal and type"gpa" or "sudo gpa
Graphical interfaces should only be accessed using gksudo---so
gksudo gpa
should do the trick
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 5:06 am

Thanks but it does not seem to make any difference. I still do not understand what is going on. The error message is cryptic (ha) and useless.
The GPGME library returned an unexpected error at gpagenkeysimpleop.c:224. The error was: General error. This is either an installation error or a bug in GPA.
I have tried reinstalling GPA but it seems to make no difference. I do not know enough about Linux to troubleshoot this.

It seems I had installed and abandoned GPA months ago but I totally forgot about it and tried again and wasted a lot of time. My memory is failing and I think I will have to keep a list of things that just don't work and I should not try to repair and a list of things that can be repaired and how to repair them. And then post a reminder to look in the list before I do anything. :)
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 5:16 am

With some further searching I found viewtopic.php?t=256943 with the same problem and the answer seems to be "don't use GPA".
WISEGUYTR wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:42 am
What I learnt:

1. Apparently there are two keyrings in Linux Mint. gpg and gpg2. The both keyrings are not linked with each other. IF you create a key with gpg, gpg2 will not be able to see it untill you export the key to it. $ gpg --export-secret-keys uid | gpg2 --import

2.GPA is a useless tool and it should be avoided all times. It creates a confusion. All tasks should be performed at the terminal. GPA doesnt allow you to create keys higher than 3072 bits. So its quite useless.

3.Seahorse is slightly better than GPA, but still should be avoided as CLI is better and more useful.

Coming back to my problem, though I have managed creating my keys by following certain instructions on the web (this is the best one https://alexcabal.com/creating-the-perfect-gpg-keypair/) but although I have placed my keys in both keyrings (gpg and gpg2) and wrote the OpenPGP Key Id to Evolution's security tab, I get the message below:
"GPA is a useless tool and it should be avoided all times." I wish someone had given me that advice before I installed GPA.
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Re: GPA

Post by Moem » Mon May 28, 2018 5:37 am

GS3 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 5:06 am
Thanks but it does not seem to make any difference.
If permission problems have been caused by starting a graphical application from the terminal with sudo, they will need to be corrected first. Just starting the application with gksudo will not fix that. I'm speaking in general terms here because I have never heard of GPA.

I wish this rule was made clearer/more prominent in Mint documentation, if it's even mentioned at all, and we see a LOT of people causing problems this way: if it has a GUI, never start it with sudo. Not even once.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 6:24 am

Well, I reinstalled GPA several times and it did not seem to correct the problems. It does seem like there are two versions in conflict and show different interfaces and keyrings. I have gone far above and beyond the call of duty trying to troubleshoot this and I think it is time to admit defeat and walk away. Discretion is the better part of valor and all that.

Firefox and Google Earth are two programs that are working flawlessly for me in Linux. I installed them, I have an icon on the desktop I click to start them and they work even if may be with minor troubleshooting needed. But on the whole they work. Probably LibreOffice falls into that category but I do not have much experience with it. Then, ironically, I have some Windows programs running with WINE and they also work reasonably well under Linux.

But Linux Mint itself has a bunch of bugs which are annoying. And it seems many programs are not really designed with a GUI from the ground up but are a hodge-podge of Linux programs to be used from the terminal line and then someone came along and designed a GUI which runs based on the command-line programs. So the GUI introduces more glitches and the advice may be to just use the command line. But you better not make any mistake with the command line or your computer may blow up killing your entire family and leveling the neighborhood.

It seems GPA falls into the category of programs which are not really stable or ready for prime time which is a shame because I would like to use it or something like it.
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Re: GPA

Post by Moem » Mon May 28, 2018 6:36 am

GS3 wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 6:24 am
Well, I reinstalled GPA several times and it did not seem to correct the problems.
That makes sense, as reinstalling does not remove the settings and the files that this program may have created. And if any permission problems have been created, they exist with regards to the files that this program has written or written to. Those files would be in your home directory, yet owned by root.
Reinstalling the program does not fix the ownership of these files.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 7:05 am

Moem wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 6:36 am
That makes sense, as reinstalling does not remove the settings and the files that this program may have created. And if any permission problems have been created, they exist with regards to the files that this program has written or written to. Those files would be in your home directory, yet owned by root.
Reinstalling the program does not fix the ownership of these files.
I "installed" GPA and never got anywhere with it at all. Whatever files it created are its own files and I do not know why they would not be removed when removing the GPA application. I do not understand why or how GPA or any other program should be able to bork my computer like that. Removing a program should remove all traces of it.

I understand that if the user has created files or documents and those files or documents are damaged or corrupted then they are unusable but this should not affect the program itself.

If a program is removed it should leave behind a clean slate and not a tangled mess where it cannot be reinstalled.

It seems I am not the only one who had trouble with GPA as there are many similar threads to be found online. Unfortunately I found no solution other than "don't use GPA".
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Re: GPA

Post by Pierre » Mon May 28, 2018 7:11 am

If a program is removed it should leave behind a clean slate and not a tangled mess where it cannot be reinstalled.
you know that it's *not* just That Other Operating System - that does that, too . . . . . .
:roll:
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 8:36 am

I guess we're feeling a little touchy today. Why bring in any other OS when I am not even talking about Linux? I say that any program, in any OS, should clean up after itself. I hope we can all agree on that. It seems GPA, which is the object of this thread, does not clean up after itself when removed and, if that is the case, I find that to be "a bad thing". And I will say the same about any other programs that fail in the same manner.

Having said that I will also say that I am looking for a replacement of PGP8 that will run in Linux. PGP8 has given me many years of good service and very few, if any, problems. As you can see I cannot say the same thing about GPA for Linux.

I am not complaining. "You get what you pay for" and all that. I realize whatever I get is the product of the work of many people and I am sorry I am not knowledgeable enough to contribute more to the Linux community. I wish that, instead of saying "GPA does not work for me" I could say "I fixed it" but that is way beyond anything I can do.

I realize Linux has a tiny fraction of the installed base of Windows and cannot compete in terms of effort dedicated to developing software for it (including malware).

But when a problem arises in Linux we do a disservice to Linux by just saying "it also happens in Windows" or "Windows is worse" because that does not solve the problem in Linux and most of the times those assertions are just not true.

I have used PGP for Windows since it came out and I do not remember having the kind of problems I am having with GPA. If I ever had any problems they were resolved easily enough that I do not remember them. I don't ever remember having to go to the command line or deal with permissions or other esoteric issues. On more than half a dozen computers I have running Win XP I just installed PGP8 and it works right off the bat.

I just wish I could find a similar alternative for Linux. I am looking for something that works and is easy to install and easy to use. I really do not have much interest in learning or dealing with permits, syntax, legalities, electronics or menswear. I just want a simple alternative to PGP8 that I can use with Linux and as long as I cannot find one I am forced to continue to use PGP and my Win XP box.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 8:43 am

I just found this
To work around a known bug consisting in the gnome keyring (i.e. seahorse) hijacking the gpg agent, you’ll have to call it via a script ~/bin/gpa like the following:
#!/bin/bash
gpg_agent_info= exec /usr/bin/gpa
I do not know if this throws any light on the cause of the problem or if it even applies to this case.
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Re: GPA

Post by altair4 » Mon May 28, 2018 8:49 am

From man apt-get:
remove
remove is identical to install except that packages are removed instead of installed. Note that removing a package
leaves its configuration files on the system. If a plus sign is appended to the package name (with no intervening
space), the identified package will be installed instead of removed.

purge
purge is identical to remove except that packages are removed and purged (any configuration files are deleted too).
man apt is a wee bit different:
install, remove, purge (apt-get(8))
...
...
Removing a package removes all packaged data, but leaves usually small (modified) user configuration files behind, in
case the remove was an accident. Just issuing an installation request for the accidentally removed package will restore
its function as before in that case. On the other hand you can get rid of these leftovers by calling purge even on
already removed packages. Note that this does not affect any data or configuration stored in your home directory.
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.

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Re: GPA

Post by all41 » Mon May 28, 2018 2:03 pm

@GS3
Confirming your report of the errors.
When started from terminal using gksudo gpa installs and runs normally using 17.3 MATE. After successfully generating a private key and restarting gpa a config file is created in ~/home named .gnupg.
Encountered this error report using 18.3:
gpa error.png
gpa error.png (18.32 KiB) Viewed 323 times
With 18.3 MATE the error occurs when private key generation is initiated. At this point no configuration files are created
therfore no file cleanup is required.

But if you use the Start Menu to start gpa as opposed to terminal all goes well and gpa installs, creates a private key, and funtions normally.
Start Menu/Accessories/gpa

After installation gpa can be run via terminal:
gksudo gpa %F

Key generation took about 25 minutes on the slower computer.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 3:42 pm

I started GPA from the start menu and by golly I can generate a new key! Yeah, took about 30 minutes.

So GPA was running fine with 17.3 MATE and 18.3 Sonia broke it. So much for the policy of always updating to the latest and bestest. Sometimes I definitely feel like "if it ain't broke don't break it" but it seems the general policy is more like "if it ain't broke fix it until it's broke". Oh well.

Questions:

What's the difference between starting GPA from the Start menu as opposed to starting from the command line? Why does it make a difference?

In the command "gksudo gpa %F" what does the "%F" do?

Why is key size limited to 3072 bits?

With GPA can I use my old PGP keys? Are the keys the same format and usable? Can I use a key generated with GPA with PGP? I guess I can just try but better ask first. I am thinking whether I should use my old PGP key if possible or whether it would be better to start over with a new key.

Bonus question loosely related: When I created a launcher on the desktop to launch GPA, Linux asked me if I wanted a copy in the start menu and I said yes. The launcher on the desktop has been deleted but I do not know how to delete the copy in the start menu. Please advise.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Mon May 28, 2018 7:15 pm

I have been playing around with GPA. PGP keys sort of try to work with GPA but don't really work. I see they have sort of similar structure but the heading is different, Linux says "GnuPG v2" where PGP says "PGP 8.1" so better not mix keys.

I have installed GPA in my wife's computer and to create keys I get a different GUI and it only allows 2048 bits whereas I get a simpler GUI which asks for key length and allows up to 3072 bits. It seems whatever program underlies GPA she has a simpler version and I have a more complete version although I also have the simpler one which launches when I do something different, I don't know what.

Maybe there is some way I can update the underlying program so both computers have the same thing? How can I check that?

If I start GPA from the start menu everything goes well. If I start it from terminal then my keys do not appear and I get the other key generator which only allows for 2048 bits. Something is still messed up.
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Re: GPA

Post by BG405 » Wed May 30, 2018 10:49 am

Missed your last couple of posts somehow. Glad you got it working! Anyway, to see if any files in your /home have wrong ownership, use this command:

Code: Select all

find $HOME -not -user $USER -exec ls -lad {} \;
Best to copy & paste into Terminal rather than typing, to avoid any mistake.
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Re: GPA

Post by phd21 » Wed May 30, 2018 1:08 pm

Hi GS3, & Everyone Else,

Although I have never had any issues installing or running GPA and its GPA Keyring manager, I did notice after reading this that I could not create new 4096 byte RSA GPG/PGP encryption key pairs which is what I would highly recommend for anyone creating new GPG/PGP key pairs. GPA works well with my existing 4096 byte RSA key pairs though.

As was stated in other posts on this GPG/PGP encryption, there are other GPG/PGP encryption applications like "Passwords and Keys (Seahorse)" which is probably in your menus, "KGpg", "Kleopatra", Thunderbird email client and the Enigmail add-on (easy to use), and of course you can always use the console terminal command prompt. Even if you do not use or want to use Thunderbird email client, its Enigmail add-on is truly a simple option for creating and managing GPG/PGP key pairs and of course for encrypting email. GPA, KGpg, Kleopatra can all encrypt and decrypt files and clipboard contents, whereas I do not see that option in Seahorse (Passwords and Keys), but Seahorse can create and manage GPG/PGP keys and SSH keys using a desktop GUI.

Tip Note: If you already have GPG/PGP keys from MS Windows or Mac, or another Linux Mint (Linux) system and you export them to a file (private and public keys), you can easily import those into your current Linux Mint system using one of the GPG/PGP applications or from the console terminal prompt. You can also designate a system default GPG/PGP key. If you create a new GPG/PGP key pair on a newly installed Linux Mint system it will become the default.
Console Terminal instructions wrote:To easily create a new GPG key pair from the console terminal prompt use the command below.

Code: Select all

gpg --gen-key
Select option1 (RSA and RSA), enter 4096 for Keysize, enter 0 (default for no expiration date) and Y to accept, Enter in your real name or a name to associate with this key pair, enter in a valid email address, enter in your password (passphrase), etc... after a while it will generate your new key pair, back it up (Export it). This can be used in any computer operating system, or email client that supports GPG/PGP encryption.
Creating your own GPG/PGP encryption key pair is recommended for verifying your downloads like the Linux Mint installation ISO files.
How to verify Linux Mint .iso file - Linux Mint Forums
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=226092&hilit=verify


Hope this helps ...
.
Seahorse_CreateNewKeyPair1.jpg
Password and Keys (Seahorse) - Create
new key pair - screen 1
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Seahorse_CreateNewKeyPair2.jpg
Password and Keys (Seahorse) - Create
new key pair - screen 2
.
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KGpg_CreateNewKeyPair1.jpg
KGpg Create (Generate) New GPG Key Pair
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Thunderbird Email client with Enigmail add-on
Image
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Kleopatra screen 1
Image
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Kleopatra screen 2
Image
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Wed May 30, 2018 4:46 pm

BG405 wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 10:49 am
Missed your last couple of posts somehow. Glad you got it working! Anyway, to see if any files in your /home have wrong ownership, use this command:

Code: Select all

find $HOME -not -user $USER -exec ls -lad {} \;
I am kind of lost and do not know how this ties in with the problems I am having with GPA but, anyway, I ran the command and got a list of hundreds of fileswhich I was not about to post here. Examining them I realized many were files I had transferred from another computer and they had no owner. I just deleted those. I think that problem will not happen again as I got some advice to configure SAMBA so that any files received are automatically assigned to my ownership.

Then there were a big bunch of files related to Firefox and they were like six months old and I just deleted them and Firefox seems fine. I think they were temporary files for some update or something.

Anyway, after a general cleanup I have one item I do not know how to deal with:

Code: Select all

find $HOME -not -user $USER -exec ls -lad {} \;
drwx------ 2 root root 4096 Apr 19 15:38 /home/a/.gvfs
find: ‘/home/a/.gvfs’: Permission denied 
I did not want to touch this as I do not know what it might be.

Again, I am not sure how this relates to GPA but there it is.

In any case, I cannot get GPA to work similarly in both computers, the key generation has problems and I am not sure keys generated in one system can be used in the other one. Maybe I would need to stay with keys below 2048 bits.

It seems GPA is not ready for prime time and still needs to simmer some more on the stove. For now I will not be using it "for real" as I do not trust it enough not to lose my information.

E.T.A: I checked my wife's computer and there are several thousand files listed with "wrong ownership" which just means "no owner" because they were transferred from another computer as backups. I thought I would just do the entire backup thing again now that SAMBA assigns ownership but then I thought there may be a simple line command to assign ownership in bash/bat or whatever.

OK I managed to also clean up her computer and this is what is left:

Code: Select all

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 5559 Jul 12  2017 /home/m/.face
drwx------ 2 root root 4096 May 30 17:04 /home/m/.cache/dconf
find: ‘/home/m/.cache/dconf’: Permission denied
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 14955 May 30 17:05 /home/m/.config/dconf/user 
Last edited by GS3 on Wed May 30, 2018 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GPA

Post by GS3 » Wed May 30, 2018 4:50 pm

phd21 wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 1:08 pm
Although I have never had any issues installing or running GPA and its GPA Keyring manager, I did notice after reading this that I could not create new 4096 byte RSA GPG/PGP encryption key pairs which is what I would highly recommend for anyone creating new GPG/PGP key pairs. GPA works well with my existing 4096 byte RSA key pairs though.

As was stated in other posts on this GPG/PGP encryption, there are other GPG/PGP encryption applications like "Passwords and Keys (Seahorse)" which is probably in your menus, "KGpg", "Kleopatra", Thunderbird email client and the Enigmail add-on (easy to use), and of course you can always use the console terminal command prompt. Even if you do not use or want to use Thunderbird email client, its Enigmail add-on is truly a simple option for creating and managing GPG/PGP key pairs and of course for encrypting email. GPA, KGpg, Kleopatra can all encrypt and decrypt files and clipboard contents, whereas I do not see that option in Seahorse (Passwords and Keys), but Seahorse can create and manage GPG/PGP keys and SSH keys using a desktop GUI.

Tip Note: If you already have GPG/PGP keys from MS Windows or Mac, or another Linux Mint (Linux) system and you export them to a file (private and public keys), you can easily import those into your current Linux Mint system using one of the GPG/PGP applications or from the console terminal prompt. You can also designate a system default GPG/PGP key. If you create a new GPG/PGP key pair on a newly installed Linux Mint system it will become the default.
Thanks but I've spent way too many hours over several days on this issue and I think I'll give it a rest. Thank goodness I have PGP working fine.
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