This should probably be an official FAQ, but a) I wanted to rant a bit more than is probably acceptable for something “official” and b) the sort of person this information is directed at never bloody reads, which is the logical place for it.

Who are keyring-maint?

Currently Gunnar Wolf (good cop) and Jonathan McDowell (bad cop). Previous keyring maintainers include Igor Grobman & James Troup.

I’d like to be a DM/DD. Do I send you my key?

No. You go through the DebianMaintainer or NM processes. Then the DM team or DAM tell us to add your key to the appropriate keyring.

I’d like to replace my DM/DD key in the Debian keyring. What should I do?

Read the instructions at

I have a new key that isn’t signed by anyone else, will you accept it?

No. Did you read ?

I’ve got a single DD signature on my new key. That’s enough, right?

Not unless your old key has been lost and you’re getting a different DD to request the replacement for you (and if they’re prepared to ask for a key replacement we’ll wonder why they’re not prepared to sign the new key too).

Did you read ?

I’m still really confused about how I should request a key replacement. Help?

Try reading (which just happens to be a recent decent example). Clear subject line (I’d have added a real name too, but it’s still fairly clear), full fingerprint of the old and new keys, inline signed so RT doesn’t mangle it. New key signed by old key and 3 other DDs. Request signed by old key.

That RT link needs a login. I don’t have one.

Have you tried reading up on the Debian RT system? There’s a generic read only login that’ll get you access.

That’s too hard. Can’t you just give me the details?

Damnit. It appears the read-only login details are currently disabled due to misuse (one wonders how). Try reading

Why are you using RT? Isn’t more appropriate?

We need the ability to for people to contact us is in a private fashion, for example if they need to us to remove a key because it’s been lost or compromised. We could only use RT for that purpose and use bugs.d.o for things that can be public, but this way all the information is in one place and we get to make the call about when it becomes a publicly viewable ticket.

What’s with jetring? Should I send you a jetring changeset?

jetring is a tool written by Joey Hess that used to be used to manage the Debian Maintainers keyring. keyring-maint borrowed a number of good ideas from jetring but don’t use it at all. We ignore jetring changesets.

So you just want key fingerprints, not attached keys?

Yes. Of course you have to make sure your key is actually on a public keyserver so we can get it. is a good choice (because Jonathan runs it and thus pays more attention to it), but or are also commonly used.

My key has expired and I want to update the key expiry date. I should email RT asking for this to be done, right?

No, you should send the updated key via HKP to You can do this with

“gpg –keyserver –send-key "

Obviously replace with your own key ID.

I tried to send an entirely new key via HKP to, but I can’t see it there. What gives? only accepts updates to keys it already knows about. That means you can send updated expiry dates, new uids and new signatures to your existing key, but not an entirely new key.

I sent my updated key via HKP to and can see it’s updated there, but the Debian archive processing tools (eg dak) don’t seem to recognize the update. Why not?

The updates sent via HKP are folded back into the HKP server automatically every 15 minutes or so. They are folded into the live Debian keyrings on a manual basis, at least once a month.

This means if your key has an expiry date then you probably want to update your key at least a month before it expires.

Where can I find these live Debian keyrings?

They’re what’s available via rsync from

This is canonical location for the current Debian Developers and Debian Maintainers keyrings.

What about the debian-keyring package?

This is a convenience package of the keyrings. It’s usually the most out of date. We update it sporadically and try to ensure that the version shipped with a stable Debian release is current at the point of release. It is not used by any of the official Debian infrastructure.

Why don’t you automatically update my key in the live keyring when I send an update via HKP?

We think that automatic updates of keys that allow uploads to Debian are a bad thing and that invoking a human eye at some step of the process is a useful sanity check.

Paranoid much?

Never enough.

How are updates to the keyring tracked?

We use bzr to maintain the keyring, with a separate file per key that can then be easily combined into the various keyrings. You can see the repository at:

Note that this is only updated when a keyring is pushed to live; the working tree may contain details of compromised keys and thus isn’t public.

What’s with the whole replacement of 1024 bit keys?

2 things. Firstly 1024 bit keys tend to use SHA1 as a hash algorithm, which has been shown to be weaker than expected. While we’re not aware of active exploits against this updating all of the keys Debian uses is not a trivial process and it’s wiser to get it done /before/ there’s a known issue. Secondly computing power has moved on and we feel that upgrading to larger key sizes is prudent.

Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) keys look like the future. Can I use one for Debian?

No, not at present. When there are tools that are part of a Debian stable release that support them we’ll look into it, after discussion with the major users of the keyring (DSA, ftpmaster, the secretary).