At 12:59 08.08.97 DST, you wrote:
Jonathan Wienke <JonWienk(_at_)ix(_dot_)netcom(_dot_)com> writes:
Instead of having a 1-byte cipher identifier, I would like to see a 4
text identifier for ciphers and hashes, so IDEA could be designated by
"IDEA", triple-DES by "3DES", SHA-1 by "SHA1", etc. This would make it
easier for PGP to support numerous algorithms, and multiple encryption.
Do you really see a new for more than 256 algoritms?
No, but... 256 is a rather low value for infinity, no matter what you
are using it for. 2^32 is a low value for the max number of IP addresses,
but it looked more than enough a number of years ago.
We might not see a need for more than 256 types right now, but it's still
stupid to restrict things. And having a 4-byte menmonic name is cute.
I'm happy to see 1 byte, 4 bytes, any length you want, but let's focus on
the essential point here, and that is compatibility. There is no point in
sending a message out into the world that the spooks can't read, when the
recipient can't read it either because he doesn't happen to have PGP
5.123.2 (or whatever) on his machine. The choice of algorithm is largely a
matter of opinion and politics, and everyone has his own personal favorite.
If we *really* open this up, then it won't be long before there are an
infinite number of possibilities. (Perhaps we'll even see Rot13 in there -
it's fast and someone out there somewhere loves it.)
Perhaps it is possible to come up with some form of 'plugin' architecture,
allowing the enthusiasts to think up any number of options for themselves,
but keeping the core clean and compatible.