Installing the IDEA Module in GnuPG

Introduction

The "official" Win32 builds of GnuPG do not include support for the IDEA algorithm, which is patented.* This can prove to be a problem when exchanging messages and files with PGP users (esp. PGP 2.6.x users) or importing old PGP keys. This web page explains how to install the IDEA module for GnuPG so that GnuPG can use the IDEA algorithm.

The IDEA module has been distributed as both a source code file (IDEA.C) and a compiled .DLL (IDEA.DLL). Unless you plan to compile the source code yourself, you want the IDEA.DLL, which is placed somewhere in the GnuPG installation directory and loaded with the load-extension option.

Please note that the IDEA module, its location within the GnuPG installation directory, and the method for loading that module with the load-extension option have changed over successive versions of GnuPG:

Please consult the appropriate directions for your version of GnuPG. All of the versions of the IDEA module discussed on this page are available for download from this site -- see the Downloads section below.

* The IDEA is patented in many countries, including the U.S., and may be used for non-commercial 
   purposes. For commercial uses you'll need to buy a license from MediaCrypt. For the "official"
   explanation of why the IDEA algorithm is not supported in GnuPG by default see HERE.


GnuPG 1.2.0 and later

There were big changes in GnuPG 1.2.0 with respect to the IDEA module. There's a new IDEA.DLL as well as a change from previous versions in the way the IDEA.DLL is loaded.

From the GnuPG 1.2.0 Announcement

* All modules are now linked statically; the --load-extension
  option is in general not useful anymore.  The only exception is
  to specify the deprecated IDEA cipher plugin.

* The IDEA plugin has changed.  Previous versions of the IDEA
  plugin will no longer work with GnuPG.  However, the current
  version of the plugin will work with earlier GnuPG versions.

Files

For "official" versions of GnuPG  (from gnupg.org), a new set of IDEA files is available from ftp.gnupg.dk (idea.c.gz & ideadll.zip):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 13815/13727 new source (gnupg.org)
idea.dll 8192 new Win32 DLL (gnupg.org)

The Nullify builds use Disastry's IDEA module (ideadll.zip), the same as previous Nullify builds:

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.dll 45056 Disastry's IDEA module

See the Downloads section below for links to these files.

To Install

1. Place the IDEA.DLL in \LIB sub-dir of the GnuPG installation dir. 

2. Add the following line to the GPG.CONF file (in previous GnuPG 
    versions it was in the OPTIONS file):

load-extension Lib\idea

    You can also specify a full path to the IDEA.DLL file:

load-extension C:\GnuPG\Lib\idea.dll

    This GPG.CONF file option line works for both the "official" and 
    Nullify
GnuPG builds.


GnuPG 1.1.91 - 1.1.92

These "middle" versions of GnuPG use a new version of the IDEA.DLL module. The location within the GnuPG installation directory and the OPTIONS file load-extension line used to load it are different.

From the GnuPG 1.1.91 Announcement

* All modules are now linked statically; the --load-extension
  option is in general not useful anymore.  The only exception is
  to specify the deprecated IDEA cipher plugin.

Files

An "official" IDEA source file was available from gnupg.org (idea.c.gz):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 12735 source (gnupg.org)

An "official" Win32 binary DLL was never available from gnupg.org, though a DLL built from the "official" source is available from PGP-Basics (idea.zip):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 12735 source (gnupg.org)
idea.dll 5632 Win32 DLL (PGP-Basics)

The Nullify builds have always used Disastry's IDEA module (ideadll.zip):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.dll 45056 Disastry's IDEA module

See the Downloads section below for links to these files.

To Install

1. Place the IDEA.DLL file in the \LIB sub-dir of the GnuPG installation dir 
    (in previous GnuPG versions it was in the \EXT sub-dir). 

2. Add the following line to the OPTIONS file:

load-extension Lib\idea

    You can also specify a full path to the IDEA.DLL file:

load-extension C:\GnuPG\Lib\idea.dll

    This OPTIONS file configuration line works for both the "official" and 
    Nullify
GnuPG builds.


GnuPG 1.0.5 - 1.0.7

The IDEA module was first available for GnuPG 1.0.5.

Files

An "official" IDEA file source file was available from gnupg.org (idea.c):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 12525 source (gnupg.org)

A previous version of "official" IDEA file source file was also available from gnupg.org (idea.c):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 15964 source (gnupg.org)

An "official" Win32 binary DLL was never available from gnupg.org, though a DLL built from the "official" source was available from winpt.org (idea-module.zip):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 15964 source (gnupg.org)
idea.dll 36864 Win32 DLL (winpt.org)

The Nullify builds use Disastry's IDEA module (ideadllsrc.zip & ideadll.zip):

File Size (kb) Notes
idea.c 12525 source (gnupg.org)
idea.dll 45056 Disastry's IDEA module

See the Downloads section below for links to these files.

To Install

1. Place the IDEA.DLL file in the \EXT sub-dir of the GnuPG installation directory. 

2. Add the following line to the OPTIONS file:

load-extension Ext\idea

    You can also specify a full path to the IDEA.DLL file:

load-extension C:\GnuPG\Ext\idea.dll

    This OPTIONS file configuration line works for both the "official" and Nullify  
    GnuPG builds.


Downloads

As so many of the various version of the IDEA* module are difficult to track down, they are also available
for download from this web page:
 

GnuPG Version Source Source Sig DLL DLL Sig Origin
GnuPG 1.2.0 & later idea.c.gz idea.c.gz.sig ideadll.zip ideadll.zip.sig gnupg.org ("official")
GnuPG 1.1.9x idea.c.gz idea.c.gz.sig n/a n/a gnupg.org ("official")
GnuPG 1.1.9x idea.zip included idea.zip n/a PGP-Basics
GnuPG 1.0.5-1.0.7 idea.c idea.c.sig n/a n/a gnupg.org ("official")
GnuPG 1.0.5-1.0.7 idea-module.zip n/a idea-module.zip n/a winpt.org
Nullify (all versions) ideadllsrc.zip included ideadll.zip included Disastry

Please check your version of GnuPG before downloading and installing any of these IDEA modules.

* The IDEA is patented in many countries, including the U.S., and may be used for non-commercial 
   purposes. For commercial uses you'll need to buy a license from MediaCrypt. For the "official"
   explanation of why the IDEA algorithm is not supported in GnuPG by default see HERE.


 

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