[messaging] Thoughts on keyservers

Bruce Leidl bruce at subgraph.com
Mon Aug 18 09:14:36 PDT 2014

On Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Mike Hearn <mike at plan99.net> wrote:
> Hi Bruce,
> Nyms looks cool. It'd be nice if the website contained a more explicit
> comparison against S/MIME and the existing PKI, as in many ways it sounds
> quite similar structurally, just with different wire protocols.

S/MIME might seem attractive because it's already well supported by
most email clients, but also baked into every S/MIME client is the
legacy of X.509 certificate authorities.  Replacing the trust model
with an improved system would seem to require rewriting the S/MIME
implementation in every client.  I've also never understood how keys
are supposed to be distributed for global communication in S/MIME or
if there's even a standard way to do this.

I mainly chose OpenPGP over S/MIME because I can extend it without
depending on CAs to not reject certificates with new features and
because I don't really understand everything about the behavior of
existing S/MIME clients.  Either way, I think throwing (mostly)
everything away and starting over is going to be necessary.

btw, Phillip Hallman-Baker is working on an S/MIME based system which
also requires plenty of new infrastructure:



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