Getting a kernel.org account¶
Kernel.org accounts are reserved for Linux kernel maintainers or high-profile developers. If you do not fall under one of these two categories, it’s unlikely that an account will be issued to you. If you would like to apply for an account, please e-mail the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org using the following template:
Subject: Account request for [your name here] preferred username: [username] forwarding address: [email@example.com] Reasons for requiring a kernel.org account: [specify your reasons here] [Attachment: export.asc]
The Kernel.org admin team will then review your request and you should receive a response back within a few days. If you are listed in MAINTAINERS and have enough signatures on your PGP key to be in the web of trust, your account will be issued without delay.
If we find an A (authentication) subkey on your PGP key, we will assume you will want to use that for your ssh access. If that is not the case, please mention it in the request and you’ll be issued a new ssh private key instead.
Creating a PGP key¶
If you do not already have a PGP key, or if you already have one but aren’t comfortable with using GnuPG tools, you can read the Kernel Maintainer PGP guide:
Exporting your public key¶
We no longer rely on keyservers for signature information, so please attach a copy of your public key to the request. You can generate it using the following command:
gpg -a --export --export-options export-clean [YOURKEYID] > export.asc
PGP Web of Trust¶
With extremely rare exceptions, accounts will not be issued unless the there are enough signatures on the PGP key to satisfy the web of trust.
We use the PGP web of trust to help ensure that only trusted kernel developers are able to get an account on kernel.org. Before you send the email, make sure that your PGP key is signed by at least two other people who already have an active kernel.org account.
PGP signing events at conferences are usually a good place to start, or you can find kernel developers who live in your area. If meeting in physical space is not an option for you, read below for the recommended video conferencing procedure.
Remember, the goal is not to verify someone’s government-issued credentials, but to build a web of trusted contributors. When you are signing someone’s key, you are effectively stating: “I have worked with this person and I vouch for their identity by signing their key with my own.”
Keysigning via video conferencing¶
If you are unable to attend a physical keysigning, it is acceptable to have your key signed via video conferencing. You will need at least two people who are:
- members of the kernel.org keyring (have active kernel.org accounts)
- EITHER have met you personally previously (e.g. via a conference)
- OR have worked with you for some period of time
Procedure for the signee¶
- Arrange a video conference using a platform acceptable for everyone involved.
- Export and send your public key to all members who will be attending
the call ahead of its scheduled time (using
gpg --export -a -o unsigned.asc [your@address]).
- During the conference, establish your identity with the signers.
- When everyone is ready, read your public key fingerprint out loud
(you can display it using
gpg --fingerprint [your@address]).
- Make sure everyone has verified your key fingerprint.
- Finish the call.
- Wait to receive your signed key from all signers.
- Import the signatures into your keyring using
gpg --import export.asc.
- Once you have received all the signatures, re-export your public key
gpg --export -a -o signed.asc [your@address].
signed.ascwith your account request.
Procedure for the signers¶
- Import the public key sent by the signee prior to the conference into
your keyring (
gpg --import unsigned.asc).
- Attend the video conference call arranged by the signee.
- During the call, establish the identity of the signee either using their appearance or by chatting about your prior shared experiences working on the Linux kernel (the patches they sent, the discussions you had together, etc). Please insist on the webcam use and be wary that being in the Linux kernel keyring is sufficiently interesting to attackers to attempt “deepfakes” or other video trickery.
- If you are sufficiently assured that the person on the call is who
they say they are, confirm the public key they sent to you by asking
the signee to read it out loud (you can display it using
gpg --fingerprint [their@address]).
- If the fingerprint matches, finish the call.
- Sign the key (e.g. using
gpg --quick-sign-key [their-key-id]).
- Export the signed key using
gpg --export -a -o signed.asc their@address.
- Send the signed key back to the signee via email.