Kernel Maintainer PGP guide


Konstantin Ryabitsev <>

This document is aimed at Linux kernel developers, and especially at subsystem maintainers. It contains a subset of information discussed in the more general "Protecting Code Integrity" guide published by the Linux Foundation. Please read that document for more in-depth discussion on some of the topics mentioned in this guide.

The role of PGP in Linux Kernel development

PGP helps ensure the integrity of the code that is produced by the Linux kernel development community and, to a lesser degree, establish trusted communication channels between developers via PGP-signed email exchange.

The Linux kernel source code is available in two main formats:

  • Distributed source repositories (git)

  • Periodic release snapshots (tarballs)

Both git repositories and tarballs carry PGP signatures of the kernel developers who create official kernel releases. These signatures offer a cryptographic guarantee that downloadable versions made available via or any other mirrors are identical to what these developers have on their workstations. To this end:

  • git repositories provide PGP signatures on all tags

  • tarballs provide detached PGP signatures with all downloads

Trusting the developers, not infrastructure

Ever since the 2011 compromise of core systems, the main operating principle of the Kernel Archives project has been to assume that any part of the infrastructure can be compromised at any time. For this reason, the administrators have taken deliberate steps to emphasize that trust must always be placed with developers and never with the code hosting infrastructure, regardless of how good the security practices for the latter may be.

The above guiding principle is the reason why this guide is needed. We want to make sure that by placing trust into developers we do not simply shift the blame for potential future security incidents to someone else. The goal is to provide a set of guidelines developers can use to create a secure working environment and safeguard the PGP keys used to establish the integrity of the Linux kernel itself.

PGP tools

Use GnuPG 2.2 or later

Your distro should already have GnuPG installed by default, you just need to verify that you are using a reasonably recent version of it. To check, run:

$ gpg --version | head -n1

If you have version 2.2 or above, then you are good to go. If you have a version that is prior than 2.2, then some commands from this guide may not work.

Configure gpg-agent options

The GnuPG agent is a helper tool that will start automatically whenever you use the gpg command and run in the background with the purpose of caching the private key passphrase. There are two options you should know in order to tweak when the passphrase should be expired from cache:

  • default-cache-ttl (seconds): If you use the same key again before the time-to-live expires, the countdown will reset for another period. The default is 600 (10 minutes).

  • max-cache-ttl (seconds): Regardless of how recently you've used the key since initial passphrase entry, if the maximum time-to-live countdown expires, you'll have to enter the passphrase again. The default is 30 minutes.

If you find either of these defaults too short (or too long), you can edit your ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf file to set your own values:

# set to 30 minutes for regular ttl, and 2 hours for max ttl
default-cache-ttl 1800
max-cache-ttl 7200


It is no longer necessary to start gpg-agent manually at the beginning of your shell session. You may want to check your rc files to remove anything you had in place for older versions of GnuPG, as it may not be doing the right thing any more.

Protect your PGP key

This guide assumes that you already have a PGP key that you use for Linux kernel development purposes. If you do not yet have one, please see the "Protecting Code Integrity" document mentioned earlier for guidance on how to create a new one.

You should also make a new key if your current one is weaker than 2048 bits (RSA).

Understanding PGP Subkeys

A PGP key rarely consists of a single keypair -- usually it is a collection of independent subkeys that can be used for different purposes based on their capabilities, assigned at their creation time. PGP defines four capabilities that a key can have:

  • [S] keys can be used for signing

  • [E] keys can be used for encryption

  • [A] keys can be used for authentication

  • [C] keys can be used for certifying other keys

The key with the [C] capability is often called the "master" key, but this terminology is misleading because it implies that the Certify key can be used in place of any of other subkey on the same chain (like a physical "master key" can be used to open locks made for other keys). Since this is not the case, this guide will refer to it as "the Certify key" to avoid any ambiguity.

It is critical to fully understand the following:

  1. All subkeys are fully independent from each other. If you lose a private subkey, it cannot be restored or recreated from any other private key on your chain.

  2. With the exception of the Certify key, there can be multiple subkeys with identical capabilities (e.g. you can have 2 valid encryption subkeys, 3 valid signing subkeys, but only one valid certification subkey). All subkeys are fully independent -- a message encrypted to one [E] subkey cannot be decrypted with any other [E] subkey you may also have.

  3. A single subkey may have multiple capabilities (e.g. your [C] key can also be your [S] key).

The key carrying the [C] (certify) capability is the only key that can be used to indicate relationship with other keys. Only the [C] key can be used to:

  • add or revoke other keys (subkeys) with S/E/A capabilities

  • add, change or revoke identities (uids) associated with the key

  • add or change the expiration date on itself or any subkey

  • sign other people's keys for web of trust purposes

By default, GnuPG creates the following when generating new keys:

  • One subkey carrying both Certify and Sign capabilities ([SC])

  • A separate subkey with the Encryption capability ([E])

If you used the default parameters when generating your key, then that is what you will have. You can verify by running gpg --list-secret-keys, for example:

sec   ed25519 2022-12-20 [SC] [expires: 2024-12-19]
uid           [ultimate] Alice Dev <>
ssb   cv25519 2022-12-20 [E] [expires: 2024-12-19]

The long line under the sec entry is your key fingerprint -- whenever you see [fpr] in the examples below, that 40-character string is what it refers to.

Ensure your passphrase is strong

GnuPG uses passphrases to encrypt your private keys before storing them on disk. This way, even if your .gnupg directory is leaked or stolen in its entirety, the attackers cannot use your private keys without first obtaining the passphrase to decrypt them.

It is absolutely essential that your private keys are protected by a strong passphrase. To set it or change it, use:

$ gpg --change-passphrase [fpr]

Create a separate Signing subkey

Our goal is to protect your Certify key by moving it to offline media, so if you only have a combined [SC] key, then you should create a separate signing subkey:

$ gpg --quick-addkey [fpr] ed25519 sign


ECC support in GnuPG

Note, that if you intend to use a hardware token that does not support ED25519 ECC keys, you should choose "nistp256" instead or "ed25519." See the section below on recommended hardware devices.

Back up your Certify key for disaster recovery

The more signatures you have on your PGP key from other developers, the more reasons you have to create a backup version that lives on something other than digital media, for disaster recovery reasons.

The best way to create a printable hardcopy of your private key is by using the paperkey software written for this very purpose. See man paperkey for more details on the output format and its benefits over other solutions. Paperkey should already be packaged for most distributions.

Run the following command to create a hardcopy backup of your private key:

$ gpg --export-secret-key [fpr] | paperkey -o /tmp/key-backup.txt

Print out that file (or pipe the output straight to lpr), then take a pen and write your passphrase on the margin of the paper. This is strongly recommended because the key printout is still encrypted with that passphrase, and if you ever change it you will not remember what it used to be when you had created the backup -- guaranteed.

Put the resulting printout and the hand-written passphrase into an envelope and store in a secure and well-protected place, preferably away from your home, such as your bank vault.


Your printer is probably no longer a simple dumb device connected to your parallel port, but since the output is still encrypted with your passphrase, printing out even to "cloud-integrated" modern printers should remain a relatively safe operation.

Back up your whole GnuPG directory


!!!Do not skip this step!!!

It is important to have a readily available backup of your PGP keys should you need to recover them. This is different from the disaster-level preparedness we did with paperkey. You will also rely on these external copies whenever you need to use your Certify key -- such as when making changes to your own key or signing other people's keys after conferences and summits.

Start by getting a small USB "thumb" drive (preferably two!) that you will use for backup purposes. You will need to encrypt them using LUKS -- refer to your distro's documentation on how to accomplish this.

For the encryption passphrase, you can use the same one as on your PGP key.

Once the encryption process is over, re-insert the USB drive and make sure it gets properly mounted. Copy your entire .gnupg directory over to the encrypted storage:

$ cp -a ~/.gnupg /media/disk/foo/gnupg-backup

You should now test to make sure everything still works:

$ gpg --homedir=/media/disk/foo/gnupg-backup --list-key [fpr]

If you don't get any errors, then you should be good to go. Unmount the USB drive, distinctly label it so you don't blow it away next time you need to use a random USB drive, and put in a safe place -- but not too far away, because you'll need to use it every now and again for things like editing identities, adding or revoking subkeys, or signing other people's keys.

Remove the Certify key from your homedir

The files in our home directory are not as well protected as we like to think. They can be leaked or stolen via many different means:

  • by accident when making quick homedir copies to set up a new workstation

  • by systems administrator negligence or malice

  • via poorly secured backups

  • via malware in desktop apps (browsers, pdf viewers, etc)

  • via coercion when crossing international borders

Protecting your key with a good passphrase greatly helps reduce the risk of any of the above, but passphrases can be discovered via keyloggers, shoulder-surfing, or any number of other means. For this reason, the recommended setup is to remove your Certify key from your home directory and store it on offline storage.


Please see the previous section and make sure you have backed up your GnuPG directory in its entirety. What we are about to do will render your key useless if you do not have a usable backup!

First, identify the keygrip of your Certify key:

$ gpg --with-keygrip --list-key [fpr]

The output will be something like this:

pub   ed25519 2022-12-20 [SC] [expires: 2022-12-19]
      Keygrip = 1111000000000000000000000000000000000000
uid           [ultimate] Alice Dev <>
sub   cv25519 2022-12-20 [E] [expires: 2022-12-19]
      Keygrip = 2222000000000000000000000000000000000000
sub   ed25519 2022-12-20 [S]
      Keygrip = 3333000000000000000000000000000000000000

Find the keygrip entry that is beneath the pub line (right under the Certify key fingerprint). This will correspond directly to a file in your ~/.gnupg directory:

$ cd ~/.gnupg/private-keys-v1.d
$ ls

All you have to do is simply remove the .key file that corresponds to the Certify key keygrip:

$ cd ~/.gnupg/private-keys-v1.d
$ rm 1111000000000000000000000000000000000000.key

Now, if you issue the --list-secret-keys command, it will show that the Certify key is missing (the # indicates it is not available):

$ gpg --list-secret-keys
sec#  ed25519 2022-12-20 [SC] [expires: 2024-12-19]
uid           [ultimate] Alice Dev <>
ssb   cv25519 2022-12-20 [E] [expires: 2024-12-19]
ssb   ed25519 2022-12-20 [S]

You should also remove any secring.gpg files in the ~/.gnupg directory, which may be left over from previous versions of GnuPG.

If you don't have the "private-keys-v1.d" directory

If you do not have a ~/.gnupg/private-keys-v1.d directory, then your secret keys are still stored in the legacy secring.gpg file used by GnuPG v1. Making any changes to your key, such as changing the passphrase or adding a subkey, should automatically convert the old secring.gpg format to use private-keys-v1.d instead.

Once you get that done, make sure to delete the obsolete secring.gpg file, which still contains your private keys.

Move the subkeys to a dedicated crypto device

Even though the Certify key is now safe from being leaked or stolen, the subkeys are still in your home directory. Anyone who manages to get their hands on those will be able to decrypt your communication or fake your signatures (if they know the passphrase). Furthermore, each time a GnuPG operation is performed, the keys are loaded into system memory and can be stolen from there by sufficiently advanced malware (think Meltdown and Spectre).

The best way to completely protect your keys is to move them to a specialized hardware device that is capable of smartcard operations.

The benefits of smartcards

A smartcard contains a cryptographic chip that is capable of storing private keys and performing crypto operations directly on the card itself. Because the key contents never leave the smartcard, the operating system of the computer into which you plug in the hardware device is not able to retrieve the private keys themselves. This is very different from the encrypted USB storage device we used earlier for backup purposes -- while that USB device is plugged in and mounted, the operating system is able to access the private key contents.

Using external encrypted USB media is not a substitute to having a smartcard-capable device.

Available smartcard devices

Unless all your laptops and workstations have smartcard readers, the easiest is to get a specialized USB device that implements smartcard functionality. There are several options available:

  • Nitrokey Start: Open hardware and Free Software, based on FSI Japan's Gnuk. One of the few available commercial devices that support ED25519 ECC keys, but offer fewest security features (such as resistance to tampering or some side-channel attacks).

  • Nitrokey Pro 2: Similar to the Nitrokey Start, but more tamper-resistant and offers more security features. Pro 2 supports ECC cryptography (NISTP).

  • Yubikey 5: proprietary hardware and software, but cheaper than Nitrokey Pro and comes available in the USB-C form that is more useful with newer laptops. Offers additional security features such as FIDO U2F, among others, and now finally supports NISTP and ED25519 ECC keys.

Your choice will depend on cost, shipping availability in your geographical region, and open/proprietary hardware considerations.


If you are listed in MAINTAINERS or have an account at, you qualify for a free Nitrokey Start courtesy of The Linux Foundation.

Configure your smartcard device

Your smartcard device should Just Work (TM) the moment you plug it into any modern Linux workstation. You can verify it by running:

$ gpg --card-status

If you see full smartcard details, then you are good to go. Unfortunately, troubleshooting all possible reasons why things may not be working for you is way beyond the scope of this guide. If you are having trouble getting the card to work with GnuPG, please seek help via usual support channels.

To configure your smartcard, you will need to use the GnuPG menu system, as there are no convenient command-line switches:

$ gpg --card-edit
gpg/card> admin
Admin commands are allowed
gpg/card> passwd

You should set the user PIN (1), Admin PIN (3), and the Reset Code (4). Please make sure to record and store these in a safe place -- especially the Admin PIN and the Reset Code (which allows you to completely wipe the smartcard). You so rarely need to use the Admin PIN, that you will inevitably forget what it is if you do not record it.

Getting back to the main card menu, you can also set other values (such as name, sex, login data, etc), but it's not necessary and will additionally leak information about your smartcard should you lose it.


Despite having the name "PIN", neither the user PIN nor the admin PIN on the card need to be numbers.


Some devices may require that you move the subkeys onto the device before you can change the passphrase. Please check the documentation provided by the device manufacturer.

Move the subkeys to your smartcard

Exit the card menu (using "q") and save all changes. Next, let's move your subkeys onto the smartcard. You will need both your PGP key passphrase and the admin PIN of the card for most operations:

$ gpg --edit-key [fpr]

Secret subkeys are available.

     created: 2022-12-20  expires: 2024-12-19  usage: SC
     trust: ultimate      validity: ultimate
ssb  cv25519/1111222233334444
     created: 2022-12-20  expires: never       usage: E
ssb  ed25519/5555666677778888
     created: 2017-12-07  expires: never       usage: S
[ultimate] (1). Alice Dev <>


Using --edit-key puts us into the menu mode again, and you will notice that the key listing is a little different. From here on, all commands are done from inside this menu mode, as indicated by gpg>.

First, let's select the key we'll be putting onto the card -- you do this by typing key 1 (it's the first one in the listing, the [E] subkey):

gpg> key 1

In the output, you should now see ssb* on the [E] key. The * indicates which key is currently "selected." It works as a toggle, meaning that if you type key 1 again, the * will disappear and the key will not be selected any more.

Now, let's move that key onto the smartcard:

gpg> keytocard
Please select where to store the key:
   (2) Encryption key
Your selection? 2

Since it's our [E] key, it makes sense to put it into the Encryption slot. When you submit your selection, you will be prompted first for your PGP key passphrase, and then for the admin PIN. If the command returns without an error, your key has been moved.

Important: Now type key 1 again to unselect the first key, and key 2 to select the [S] key:

gpg> key 1
gpg> key 2
gpg> keytocard
Please select where to store the key:
   (1) Signature key
   (3) Authentication key
Your selection? 1

You can use the [S] key both for Signature and Authentication, but we want to make sure it's in the Signature slot, so choose (1). Once again, if your command returns without an error, then the operation was successful:

gpg> q
Save changes? (y/N) y

Saving the changes will delete the keys you moved to the card from your home directory (but it's okay, because we have them in our backups should we need to do this again for a replacement smartcard).

Verifying that the keys were moved

If you perform --list-secret-keys now, you will see a subtle difference in the output:

$ gpg --list-secret-keys
sec#  ed25519 2022-12-20 [SC] [expires: 2024-12-19]
uid           [ultimate] Alice Dev <>
ssb>  cv25519 2022-12-20 [E] [expires: 2024-12-19]
ssb>  ed25519 2022-12-20 [S]

The > in the ssb> output indicates that the subkey is only available on the smartcard. If you go back into your secret keys directory and look at the contents there, you will notice that the .key files there have been replaced with stubs:

$ cd ~/.gnupg/private-keys-v1.d
$ strings *.key | grep 'private-key'

The output should contain shadowed-private-key to indicate that these files are only stubs and the actual content is on the smartcard.

Verifying that the smartcard is functioning

To verify that the smartcard is working as intended, you can create a signature:

$ echo "Hello world" | gpg --clearsign > /tmp/test.asc
$ gpg --verify /tmp/test.asc

This should ask for your smartcard PIN on your first command, and then show "Good signature" after you run gpg --verify.

Congratulations, you have successfully made it extremely difficult to steal your digital developer identity!

Other common GnuPG operations

Here is a quick reference for some common operations you'll need to do with your PGP key.

Mounting your safe offline storage

You will need your Certify key for any of the operations below, so you will first need to mount your backup offline storage and tell GnuPG to use it:

$ export GNUPGHOME=/media/disk/foo/gnupg-backup
$ gpg --list-secret-keys

You want to make sure that you see sec and not sec# in the output (the # means the key is not available and you're still using your regular home directory location).

Extending key expiration date

The Certify key has the default expiration date of 2 years from the date of creation. This is done both for security reasons and to make obsolete keys eventually disappear from keyservers.

To extend the expiration on your key by a year from current date, just run:

$ gpg --quick-set-expire [fpr] 1y

You can also use a specific date if that is easier to remember (e.g. your birthday, January 1st, or Canada Day):

$ gpg --quick-set-expire [fpr] 2025-07-01

Remember to send the updated key back to keyservers:

$ gpg --send-key [fpr]

Updating your work directory after any changes

After you make any changes to your key using the offline storage, you will want to import these changes back into your regular working directory:

$ gpg --export | gpg --homedir ~/.gnupg --import

Using gpg-agent over ssh

You can forward your gpg-agent over ssh if you need to sign tags or commits on a remote system. Please refer to the instructions provided on the GnuPG wiki:

It works more smoothly if you can modify the sshd server settings on the remote end.

Using PGP with Git

One of the core features of Git is its decentralized nature -- once a repository is cloned to your system, you have full history of the project, including all of its tags, commits and branches. However, with hundreds of cloned repositories floating around, how does anyone verify that their copy of linux.git has not been tampered with by a malicious third party?

Or what happens if a backdoor is discovered in the code and the "Author" line in the commit says it was done by you, while you're pretty sure you had nothing to do with it?

To address both of these issues, Git introduced PGP integration. Signed tags prove the repository integrity by assuring that its contents are exactly the same as on the workstation of the developer who created the tag, while signed commits make it nearly impossible for someone to impersonate you without having access to your PGP keys.

Configure git to use your PGP key

If you only have one secret key in your keyring, then you don't really need to do anything extra, as it becomes your default key. However, if you happen to have multiple secret keys, you can tell git which key should be used ([fpr] is the fingerprint of your key):

$ git config --global user.signingKey [fpr]

How to work with signed tags

To create a signed tag, simply pass the -s switch to the tag command:

$ git tag -s [tagname]

Our recommendation is to always sign git tags, as this allows other developers to ensure that the git repository they are pulling from has not been maliciously altered.

How to verify signed tags

To verify a signed tag, simply use the verify-tag command:

$ git verify-tag [tagname]

If you are pulling a tag from another fork of the project repository, git should automatically verify the signature at the tip you're pulling and show you the results during the merge operation:

$ git pull [url] tags/sometag

The merge message will contain something like this:

Merge tag 'sometag' of [url]

[Tag message]

# gpg: Signature made [...]
# gpg: Good signature from [...]

If you are verifying someone else's git tag, then you will need to import their PGP key. Please refer to the "How to work with signed patches" section below.

Configure git to always sign annotated tags

Chances are, if you're creating an annotated tag, you'll want to sign it. To force git to always sign annotated tags, you can set a global configuration option:

$ git config --global tag.forceSignAnnotated true

How to work with signed commits

It is easy to create signed commits, but it is much more difficult to use them in Linux kernel development, since it relies on patches sent to the mailing list, and this workflow does not preserve PGP commit signatures. Furthermore, when rebasing your repository to match upstream, even your own PGP commit signatures will end up discarded. For this reason, most kernel developers don't bother signing their commits and will ignore signed commits in any external repositories that they rely upon in their work.

However, if you have your working git tree publicly available at some git hosting service (,,, or others), then the recommendation is that you sign all your git commits even if upstream developers do not directly benefit from this practice.

We recommend this for the following reasons:

  1. Should there ever be a need to perform code forensics or track code provenance, even externally maintained trees carrying PGP commit signatures will be valuable for such purposes.

  2. If you ever need to re-clone your local repository (for example, after a disk failure), this lets you easily verify the repository integrity before resuming your work.

  3. If someone needs to cherry-pick your commits, this allows them to quickly verify their integrity before applying them.

Creating signed commits

To create a signed commit, you just need to pass the -S flag to the git commit command (it's capital -S due to collision with another flag):

$ git commit -S

Configure git to always sign commits

You can tell git to always sign commits:

git config --global commit.gpgSign true


Make sure you configure gpg-agent before you turn this on.

How to work with signed patches

It is possible to use your PGP key to sign patches sent to kernel developer mailing lists. Since existing email signature mechanisms (PGP-Mime or PGP-inline) tend to cause problems with regular code review tasks, you should use the tool created for this purpose that puts cryptographic attestation signatures into message headers (a-la DKIM):

Installing and configuring patatt

Patatt is packaged for many distributions already, so please check there first. You can also install it from pypi using "pip install patatt".

If you already have your PGP key configured with git (via the user.signingKey configuration parameter), then patatt requires no further configuration. You can start signing your patches by installing the git-send-email hook in the repository you want:

patatt install-hook

Now any patches you send with git send-email will be automatically signed with your cryptographic signature.

Checking patatt signatures

If you are using b4 to retrieve and apply patches, then it will automatically attempt to verify all DKIM and patatt signatures it encounters, for example:

$ b4 am
Checking attestation on all messages, may take a moment...
  ✓ [PATCH v1 1/3] kselftest/arm64: Correct buffer allocation for SVE Z registers
  ✓ [PATCH v1 2/3] arm64/sve: Document our actual ABI for clearing registers on syscall
  ✓ [PATCH v1 3/3] kselftest/arm64: Enforce actual ABI for SVE syscalls
  ✓ Signed: openpgp/
  ✓ Signed: DKIM/


Patatt and b4 are still in active development and you should check the latest documentation for these projects for any new or updated features.

How to verify kernel developer identities

Signing tags and commits is easy, but how does one go about verifying that the key used to sign something belongs to the actual kernel developer and not to a malicious imposter?

Configure auto-key-retrieval using WKD and DANE

If you are not already someone with an extensive collection of other developers' public keys, then you can jumpstart your keyring by relying on key auto-discovery and auto-retrieval. GnuPG can piggyback on other delegated trust technologies, namely DNSSEC and TLS, to get you going if the prospect of starting your own Web of Trust from scratch is too daunting.

Add the following to your ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf:

auto-key-locate wkd,dane,local

DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities ("DANE") is a method for publishing public keys in DNS and securing them using DNSSEC signed zones. Web Key Directory ("WKD") is the alternative method that uses https lookups for the same purpose. When using either DANE or WKD for looking up public keys, GnuPG will validate DNSSEC or TLS certificates, respectively, before adding auto-retrieved public keys to your local keyring. publishes the WKD for all developers who have accounts. Once you have the above changes in your gpg.conf, you can auto-retrieve the keys for Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman (if you don't already have them):

$ gpg --locate-keys

If you have a account, then you should add the UID to your key to make WKD more useful to other kernel developers.

Web of Trust (WOT) vs. Trust on First Use (TOFU)

PGP incorporates a trust delegation mechanism known as the "Web of Trust." At its core, this is an attempt to replace the need for centralized Certification Authorities of the HTTPS/TLS world. Instead of various software makers dictating who should be your trusted certifying entity, PGP leaves this responsibility to each user.

Unfortunately, very few people understand how the Web of Trust works. While it remains an important aspect of the OpenPGP specification, recent versions of GnuPG (2.2 and above) have implemented an alternative mechanism called "Trust on First Use" (TOFU). You can think of TOFU as "the SSH-like approach to trust." With SSH, the first time you connect to a remote system, its key fingerprint is recorded and remembered. If the key changes in the future, the SSH client will alert you and refuse to connect, forcing you to make a decision on whether you choose to trust the changed key or not. Similarly, the first time you import someone's PGP key, it is assumed to be valid. If at any point in the future GnuPG comes across another key with the same identity, both the previously imported key and the new key will be marked as invalid and you will need to manually figure out which one to keep.

We recommend that you use the combined TOFU+PGP trust model (which is the new default in GnuPG v2). To set it, add (or modify) the trust-model setting in ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf:

trust-model tofu+pgp

Using the web of trust repository maintains a git repository with developers' public keys as a replacement for replicating keyserver networks that have gone mostly dark in the past few years. The full documentation for how to set up that repository as your source of public keys can be found here:

If you are a kernel developer, please consider submitting your key for inclusion into that keyring.