Published: Mon 04 January 2021
When I learned how to use the
GNU Privacy Guard,
I was taught to set an expiration date on my key.
if you lose control of the key and do not have a revocation certificate with
which to revoke the key, having an expiration date on the master key ensures
that the key will eventually fall into disuse
There are no permanent consequences to letting a key expire;
if you still control the key,
you can change the expiration date and publish it as normal.
However, there is one rather direct consequences:
other users encrypting to you will get an error, as intended.
This includes any tools that depend on GPG, such as
It's better not to allow your key to expire.
There are a variety of scripts people have written in a variety of contexts
to solve this basic problem.
There are two requirements that I had, though, and my brief search didn't
turn up any that met both:
easy to specify the expiration threshold
I would also prefer something I can read and understand;
many of the scripts I found use the machine-parsable output of the
gpg(1) command line tool, which leads to some impressive but impenetrable
Instead, I made my own:
It is licensed under the GPLv3, and is (I hope) fairly readable Python.
It is intended to be run as a cron job; it is silent on success,
and prints some useful information on failure:
$ ./gpg-expiration.py --days 100 jasonaowen
$ echo $?
$ ./gpg-expiration.py --days 1000 jasonaowen
Jason Owen <email@example.com> will expire before 2023-10-01 18:09:55.894062:
2B38BD955557647E7C26B53C19E27469767CFC68 expires at 2022-01-04 13:23:32
B41F874786836B92CCC30D1E87AF208B3BA28925 expires at 2022-01-04 13:24:07
5A466EE6DA264910588578D2BB90600F9D11F1A4 expires at 2022-01-04 13:24:07
BDD790654C9560DF26E18FFD903C59EC50568825 expires at 2022-01-04 13:24:07
$ echo $?
Set it up as a cron job and be reminded before your key expires!