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A brief history of GnuPG: vital to online security but free and underfunded

Filed under
GNU
Security

Most people have never heard of the software that makes up the machinery of the internet. Outside developer circles, its authors receive little reward for their efforts, in terms of either money or public recognition.

One example is the encryption software GNU Privacy Guard (also known as GnuPG and GPG), and its authors are regularly forced to fundraise to continue the project.

GnuPG is part of the GNU collection of free and open source software, but its story is an interesting one, and it begins with software engineer Phil Zimmermann.

We do not know exactly what Zimmermann felt on January 11, 1996, but relief is probably a good guess. The United States government had just ended its investigation into him and his encryption software, PGP or “Pretty Good Privacy”.

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