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Enigmail password trouble with OpenPGP

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 12 April, 2012 at

I’m using Thunderbird and Enigmail on Kubuntu, signing all my email and encrypting correspondence whenever possible. Lately (probably due to an update) the password-entry window does not appear. In stead, it complains immediately about:

openpgpg alert - error bad passphrase

I have set the preferences to remember my password for several minutes, so I figured there’s some problem there. I am not using gpg-agent, so EnigMail should fall back to the default.

Checking OpenPGP > Debugging Options > View Console shows what Enigmail is doing. I type my message (signing option checked) and click Send. The console shows:

gpg: gpg-agent is not available in this session
gpg: can't query passphrase in batch mode

Which makes sense, I am not using gpg-agent. Finally, it complains:

gpg; [stdin]: clearsign failed: bad passphrase

And gives up. Googling around I find similar problems, but no solution. Then I noted the following line in the console:

gpg: NOTE: old default options file '~/.gnupg/options' ignored

The ‘options’ file has been obsoleted, gnupg uses gpg.conf now. I checked, indeed the contents of ‘options’ are also present in gpg.conf. Moving ‘options’ away and restarting Thunderbird solved the problem.

Moreover, it also solved my password problem, I now get the password prompt and can happily sign my email.

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