System: Linux Mint 19.

Today I created a new GPG key pair using:

gpg --full-generate-key

I armor-exported the public key and have run:

file *.public

As a surprise I found my key or format or whatever to be old:

PGP public key block Public-Key (old)

I used search engine a lot, but haven't managed to find out what exactly this means?

  • I think this question is more about the output of the file command. Have you tried asking on unix/Ubuntu stack exchanges? I was able to recreate this, not sure what it means though. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


OLD likely means your PGP public key block uses old packet format. See: https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc4880#section-4.2

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