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Which was the year the linux distributions, windows have first used to sign their updates? Historical question that is hard to "google".

  • This will vary on a distro-to-distro basis. – Xiong Chiamiov Dec 6 '16 at 17:25
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For apt package manager

In recent releases, Debian has been using strong crypto to validate downloaded packages. This is commonly called "secure apt" (or "apt-secure") and was implemented in Apt version 0.6 in 2003, which Debian migrated to in 2005.

Although work for the underlying dpkg-verify had started since 2000.

From rpm change log, rpm seems to support PGP, presumably for code signing, since at least version 2.0, which was released around 1996.

Windows is a bit difficult to research. There are evidence that Windows 98 had support for signed hotfixes:

Installing Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition Hotfixes

... To install a Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition hotfix on a single computer, run the self-extracting installer. This installer performs the following actions:

  1. Unpacks the files that are needed for installation into a temporary folder. Typically, these files include:
    • ...
    • A digital signature file (.cat) used to digitally sign the hotfix binary files (in most situations).
    • ...

However, I'm not quite sure what Microsoft means by "in most situation", perhaps it doesn't always require hotfix packages to be signed?

  • @pepite: I added some bit about Windows. – Lie Ryan Dec 6 '16 at 12:19

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