pinentry-curses Man page



pinentry-curses – PIN or pass-phrase entry dialog for GnuPG


pinentry-curses [OPTION…]


pinentry-curses is a program that allows for secure entry of PINs or
pass phrases. That means it tries to take care that the entered infor‐
mation is not swapped to disk or temporarily stored anywhere. This
functionality is particularly useful for entering pass phrases when
using encryption software such as GnuPG or e-mail clients using the
same. It uses an open protocol and is therefore not tied to particular

pinentry-curses implements a PIN entry dialog using the curses tool
kit, meaning that it is useful for users working in text mode without
the X Window System. There are other flavors that implement PIN entry
dialogs that use an X tool kit. If you have installed any of the lat‐
ter programs then this program is not necessary because the X flavors
automatically fall back to text mode if X is not active.

pinentry-curses is typically used internally by gpg-agent. Users don’t
normally have a reason to call it directly.


Print the program version and licensing information.

–help Print a usage message summarizing the most useful command-line

–debug, -d
Turn on some debugging. Mostly useful for the maintainers.
Note that this may reveal sensitive information like the entered
pass phrase.

–enhanced, -e
Ask for timeouts and insurance, too. Note that this is cur‐
rently not fully supported.

–no-global-grab, -g
Grab the keyboard only when the window is focused. Use this
option if you are debugging software using pinentry-curses; oth‐
erwise you may not be able to to access your X session anymore
(unless you have other means to connect to the machine to kill

–parent-wid N
Use window ID N as the parent window for positioning the window.
Note, that this is not fully supported by all flavors of pinen‐

–display STRING, –ttyname STRING, –ttytype STRING, –lc-type STRING,
–lc-messages STRING
These options are used to pass localization information to
pinentry-curses. They are required because pinentry-curses is
usually called by some background process which does not have
any information on the locale and terminal to use. Assuan pro‐
tocol options are an alternative way to pass these information.


pinentry-gtk-2(1), pinentry-qt(1), pinentry-gnome3, pinentry-tty,
gpg, gpg-agent

The full documentation for pinentry-curses is maintained as a Texinfo
manual. If the pinentry-doc package is installed, the command

info pinentry

should give you access to the complete manual.


This manual page was written by Peter Eisentraut for the Debian

27 Jan 2005 PINENTRY-CURSES(1)