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1. Introduction

Libgcrypt is a library providing cryptographic building blocks.


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1.1 Getting Started

This manual documents the Libgcrypt library application programming interface (API). All functions and data types provided by the library are explained.

The reader is assumed to possess basic knowledge about applied cryptography.

This manual can be used in several ways. If read from the beginning to the end, it gives a good introduction into the library and how it can be used in an application. Forward references are included where necessary. Later on, the manual can be used as a reference manual to get just the information needed about any particular interface of the library. Experienced programmers might want to start looking at the examples at the end of the manual, and then only read up those parts of the interface which are unclear.


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1.2 Features

Libgcrypt might have a couple of advantages over other libraries doing a similar job.

It's Free Software

Anybody can use, modify, and redistribute it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (see section GNU Lesser General Public License). Note, that some parts (which are in general not needed by applications) are subject to the terms of the GNU General Public License (see section GNU General Public License); please see the README file of the distribution for of list of these parts.

It encapsulates the low level cryptography

Libgcrypt provides a high level interface to cryptographic building blocks using an extensible and flexible API.


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1.3 Overview

The Libgcrypt library is fully thread-safe, where it makes sense to be thread-safe. Not thread-safe are some cryptographic functions that modify a certain context stored in handles. If the user really intents to use such functions from different threads on the same handle, he has to take care of the serialization of such functions himself. If not described otherwise, every function is thread-safe.

Libgcrypt depends on the library `libgpg-error', which contains common error handling related code for GnuPG components.


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