Notmuch, Emacs and pinentry -- oh my

David Bremner david at
Fri Nov 8 05:29:37 PST 2019

Ralph Seichter <abbot at> writes:

> Alas, in these cases I can tell that Emacs expects input of me, but it
> only uses the bottom most two lines to do so, meaning that I cannot
> quite read what is expected of me. Assuming that pinentry is involved, I
> tried switching between pinentry-curses and pinentry-tty in my shell
> profile, but the result is unreadable in both cases. If I use commands
> like "pgp -d ..." in the shell, both pinentry variants work fine (in the
> case of curse, the prompt is smack in the middle of my terminal window,
> as expected).

My only (not always popular advice) w.r.t. pinentry is to use a
graphical pinentry if at all possible.

> I have enabled 'allow-emacs-pinentry' in my gpg.conf, but that does not
> resolve the issue either, so I would be grateful for advice. Thanks.

Not all Emacs binaries have support for emacs-pinentry built in. Reading
gpg passphrases (or root passwords) into the same emacs as runs a mail
or irc client makes me nervous personally, but it's up to you. In any
case, if you do want to do that, check the variable

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