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I created a pgp-key with Seahorse 3.6.3. If i select the key and go to "File -> Export", i can choose between two options: An .asc-file, which exports the public key in a text format, and a .pgp-file, which creates a binary file.

I can't figure out what the binary file contains and for what it is used. Does it contain my private key? Can i give it away (because i did without understanding what i was doing)? What is it for?


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

OpenPGP has two different file formats:

  1. binary (more efficient in terms of storage and transmission).
  2. ascii armored (better software compatibility).

Seahorse probably includes your public key, public subkeys, user ids and incoming signatures with your key (like GnuPG does). To verify what's included, run gpg --list-packets [filename], which will dump all OpenPGP packets included in the file.

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