jetring man page

jetring — maintenance of gpg keyrings using changesets


jetring is a collection of tools that allow for gpg keyrings to be maintained using changesets. It was developed with the Debian keyring in mind, and aims to solve the problem that a gpg keyring is a binary blob that's hard for multiple people to collaboratively edit.

With jetring, changesets can be submitted, reviewed to see exactly what they will do, applied, and used to build a keyring. The origin of every change made to the keyring is available for auditing, and gpg signatures can be used to further secure things.


A jetring directory is used as the "source" that a keyring is built from. To convert an existing gpg keyring to such a directory, use the jetring-explode(1) command.

Each change to the gpg keyring is stored in a separate changeset file in the directory. Changesets can reflect any set of changes to the keyring. Changesets can also include arbitrary metadata. The jetring-gen(1) command can be used to compare two keyrings and generate a changeset from one to the other.

Changesets are never removed or modified, only new ones added, using the jetring-accept(1) command.

There's an ordering of the changesets. This ordering is stored in an index file. The index file is only appended to, to add new changesets.

Changesets can be fully examined to see what change they make before applying them. The jetring-review(1) and jetring-diff(1) commands can be used for such review.

To create a new keyring, or incrementally update an existing keyring, changesets are applied in order using the jetring-build(1) command.

Gpg Signatures

The index file can optionally be gpg signed (the signature will be stored in index.gpg); if JETRING_SIGN is set to point to a gpg keyring, then jetring commands that operate on the jetring directory will always check that the index file is signed with one of the keys from that keyring. Commands that modify the index file will update its signature.

Changeset Format

A changeset file consists of one or more stanzas, separated by blank lines. The stanzas are in RFC-822-like format. Each stanza must have an action field, which specifies which action to take on the keyring, and a data field, typically a multi-line field, which contains the data to feed to the action. Supported actions are:


The data field should be an ascii-armored gpg key block, that is fed into gpg --import.

edit-key keyid

gpg --edit-key is run on the specified key id. The data field is a script, each line in it is passed in to gpg, the same as if gpg were being driven interactively. This can be used to make arbitrary changes to the key.

delete-key keyid

The given key is deleted. The data is fed into gpg --delete-key, and should be "y", since gpg expects that confirmation to deleting a key.

Other fields can be added as desired to hold metadata about the change. Typical additional fields include date, changed-by, and comment.

Changesets can be optionally have attached signatures, although such data is not automatically validated and is mostly useful to record who submitted or signed off on a given changeset.


Joey Hess, <>.

Referenced By

jetring-accept(1), jetring-apply(1), jetring-build(1), jetring-checksum(1), jetring-diff(1), jetring-explode(1), jetring-gen(1), jetring-review(1), jetring-signindex(1).

jetring commands