Thunderbird and OpenPGP - Junior Mode / pEp

Kai Engert kaie at kuix.de
Thu Dec 5 11:33:45 UTC 2019


Eric Moore commented on the blog post:
> However, what does this mean for the work with “pretty Easy privacy”?

In the past, Enigmail only had one mode of operation, let's call that
the classic mode. Recent versions of Enigmail support an additional mode
of operation, also called Junior Mode, with the intention to provide the
pEp approach to email privacy in Thunderbird.

Both modes produce and process messages using OpenPGP technology,
however, the application behavior and user interface is quite different.

Two examples that can be easily noticed:

(1) When composing a message, the classic Enigmail mode uses a more
direct approach to involve the user in defining the properties of an
outgoing message. The digital signing and encryption features may be
controlled independently.

With the Junior Mode, the user is given only one switch, which allows
the user to either disable or enable a property named "protection", and
the software will derive an overall status for the outgoing message, and
will describe it using more general terms like secure, unsecure etc. in
the status bar.

(2) When viewing a received message, the classic Enigmail mode will
display the digital signature encryption properties independently, using
the same status icons as when viewing S/MIME messages.

On the other hand, Enigmail's junior mode uses pEp visual concept of
red/yellow/green colored geometric symbols to visualize the overall
security status of a message.

There are many additional details that are noteworthy, but based on
these examples alone, it seems obvious that an application needs to make
a decision which philosophy it wishes to implement, or allow the user to
switch modes, as Enigmail offers.

At this time, we don't intend to implement two separate modes of
operation in Thunderbird.

We'd like to implement the Thunderbird 78 user interface in a way that's
closer to the Enigmail classic mode of operation.

Nevertheless, if other software that implements the pEp philosophy uses
the OpenPGP standard, then the exchange of encrypted messages can be
mostly compatible.

Kai


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