8

I have created a master key with two subkeys: one for signing and the other for encryption. Finally, I have exported the two subkeys to a new machine.

How can I tell the new machine to consider the master as "ultimate", even if it is absent from the machine? Does it matter?

9

You can set every key to ultimate trust through opening the key edit command line

gpg --edit-key [key-id]

and running the trust command. You will now be prompted to select the trust level:

Please decide how far you trust this user to correctly verify other users' keys
(by looking at passports, checking fingerprints from different sources, etc.)

  1 = I don't know or won't say
  2 = I do NOT trust
  3 = I trust marginally
  4 = I trust fully
  5 = I trust ultimately
  m = back to the main menu

Your decision? 

Obviously, 5 will be the proper decision to achieve ultimate trust. Finally, save to commit the changes and exit GnuPG. The same commands apply to both GnuPG 1.4 and GnuPG 2 (and newer).

Ultimate enables a key to introduce trust in the OpenPGP web of trust, with other words all ultimately trusted keys act as a starting point for trust paths. You should set your own keys to ultimate trust, but usually will not do so for other's.

| improve this answer | |
  • Minor note: it seems that save is not necessary, giving 'Key not changed so no update needed.' – David Oliver May 12 at 13:36
  • You're right, in fact this does not really edit the key, but the trust database which does not seem to require the save command. – Jens Erat May 12 at 20:01
0

Here is how to automate this (gpg --edit-key; trust; 5; save) for newly imported keys, effectively importing them as ultimately trusted.

$ gpg --import <key.asc
$ (echo 5; echo y; echo save) |
  gpg --command-fd 0 --no-tty --no-greeting -q --edit-key "$(
  gpg --list-packets <key.asc |
  awk '$1=="keyid:"{print$2;exit}')" trust 
| improve this answer | |

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