I am looking for a Linux GUI program to encrypt/decrypt shorts texts as ASCII.

Ideally it would be a text area where I could paste text then encrypt or decrypt.

It should be able to sign and check signatures too.


  • Produces ASCII (not binary)
  • Open source
  • Runs on Linux (Java is OK)
  • Finds my keys in ~/.gnupg

What I tried:

  • Seahorse is rather close, but it forces me to save my text as a file, and it generates binary instead of ASCII.
  • Command-line can do this, but it is too cumbersome for quickly copy/pasting text.

3 Answers 3



As far as I know, there's only one app out there that meets all of your criteria. All of your requirements (reproduced below) describe pyrite, though it can do more.

  • "text area where I could paste text then encrypt or decrypt"
  • "should be able to sign and check signatures"
  • "Produces ASCII" (pyrite can do both)
  • "Open source" (GPLv3)
  • "Runs on Linux" (pyrite is implemented solely in python via pygtk)
  • "Finds my keys in ~/.gnupg" (pyrite doesn't try to handle keys; it just acts as a frontend for gpg, so your keys and local configuration will be used)


Full disclosure: I'm the creator of pyrite and, as of now, the only developer.

  • great! just works: git clone git://github.com/ryran/pyrite.git; cd pyrite; sudo ./INSTALL
    – rubo77
    Jun 13, 2016 at 6:57
  • git clone https://github.com/ryran/pyrite && cd pyrite;sudo ./INSTALL Nov 2, 2016 at 3:29

If the missing ASCII-armored output is your main objective regarding Seahorse, it can be configured to produce ASCII-armored output. The configuration option is not available in the GUI, so you need to change seahorse-settings in gconf.

There is a bunch of configuration options available, the setting of interest is


which you need to enable.

How to use gconf is out of scope for this answer, so I refer to "How do I use the gconf editor?".

  • 1
    Another big problem with Seahorse is that it forces me to save my text as a file, why is very cumbersome when discussing.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Sep 4, 2014 at 8:13
  • After running gconftool-2 --set /schemas/desktop/pgp/ascii_armor --type=bool true and restarting Nautilus, Seahorse still encrypts as binary.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Sep 4, 2014 at 10:26

pyrite (already cited) and gpg4usb (https://www.gnupg.org) have the requested features: direct copy/paste and processing of text (on a text-editor like window without the need to actually saving the plain and encrypted messages) + ASCII output + open source + runs on Linux + uses ~/.gnupg GPG key info (both let you choose which key to use). Here is the official list of GPG graphical front-ends: https://www.gnupg.org/related_software/frontends.html. From this list I do not know other tools with such features. Seahorse and GPA are standard/common for GTK/Gnome/Ubuntu/Fedora but lack the requested features. I like gpg4usb better, it is simpler and more straight forward to use, have a nicer and clean visual and do not require installation (it is a portable app). On the other hand Pyrite is more advanced with fine granularity and the possibility to follow and tune the gpg command line and output, using gpg2 as engine, enabling you to even use symmetric encryption or using OpenSSL engine for symmetric encryption. Both gpg4usb and pyrite do the requested job, choose the one that best fits your taste!

  • Thanks for your answer and giving multiple options, Braulio! But could you please include how the OPs requirements are met (produces ASCII, not binary/being open source/runs on Linux)? That's expected from answers here :) Thanks!
    – Izzy
    Jan 21, 2015 at 0:15
  • How does gpg4usb answer my question better than Pyrite?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Jan 21, 2015 at 3:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.