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Removing PGP from PyPI

by: Donald Stufft ·

2023-05-23 00:00

If you are someone who is currently uploading signatures, your package uploads will
continue to succeed, but any PGP signatures will be silently ignored. If you are
someone who is currently downloading PGP signatures, existing signatures
SHOULD continue to be available 1, but no new signatures will be made available.
The related API fields such as has_sig have all been hardcoded to always be
False.

Historically, PyPI has supported uploading PGP signatures alongside the release
artifacts in an attempt to provide some level of package signing. However, the
approach used had long standing,
documented issues
which had previously lead us to deemphasize the support
for PGP signatures over time by removing them from the PyPI web user interface.

PyPI has continued to support uploading these signatures in the hope that there
might be some systems out there that found them useful. Recently though,
an examination of the signatures on PyPI
has revealed to us that the current support for PGP signatures is not proving useful.

In the last 3 years, about 50k signatures had been uploaded to PyPI by 1069
unique keys. Of those 1069 unique keys, about 30% of them were not discoverable
on major public keyservers, making it difficult or impossible to meaningfully
verify those signatures. Of the remaining 71%, nearly half of them were unable
to be meaningfully verified at the time of the audit (2023-05-19) 2.

In other words, out of all of the unique keys that had uploaded signatures to
PyPI, only 36% of them were capable of being meaningfully verified 3 at the
time of audit. Even if all of those signatures uploaded in that 3 year period
of time were made by one of those 36% of keys that are able to be meaningfully
verified, that would still represent only 0.3% of all of those files.

Given all of this, the continued support of uploading PGP signatures to PyPI is
no longer defensible. While it doesn’t represent a massive operational burden
to continue to support it, it does require any new features that touch the
storage of files to be made aware of and capable of handling these PGP
signatures, which is a non zero cost on the maintainers and contributors of
PyPI.


Donald Stufft is a PyPI administrator and maintainer of the Python Package Index since 2013.

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