I finally got around to creating a public key, after Github announced signature support. It's something I've been meaning to set up for a while (as a curiosity more than as a threat mitigation strategy).

A screenshot of GitHub saying the commit is verified.

What I wanted was to automatically sign git commits (without too much hassle), and an easy way to send encrypted messages, such as shared passwords, with coworkers. It wasn't hard at all, although the information wasn't all in one place; here's what I did:

  1. brew install gpg. (Step 0, install homebrew, if you don't have it. If you don't, how are you even using OSX?
  2. Generate a gpg key and add the key to your GitHub account.
  3. brew install gpg-agent. gpg-agent allows you cache your password entry for a configurable amount of time (so you're not, for example, re-entering your very strong private key password 12 times during a rebase).
  4. Create a file at ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf, and add use-standard-socket and default-cache-ttl 3600 on separate lines. The cache TTL is in seconds; an hour seems to be a good line between getting annoyed at entering too much and not opening myself up too much. Adjust as necessary.
  5. Edit ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf to uncomment the line use-agent.
  6. Update your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile or whatever to add the following, which sets up the GPG daemon:
[ -f ~/.gpg-agent-info ] && source ~/.gpg-agent-info
if [ -S "${GPG_AGENT_INFO%%:*}" ]; then
  export GPG_TTY=$(tty)
  eval $( gpg-agent --daemon --write-env-file ~/.gpg-agent-info )

Finally, and optionally, you can update your git config to add signing by default. First, get your uid from gpg --list-keys | grep uid which should return something like:

uid                  Jack Lawson (jack) <>

You can put this uid in your gitconfig:

  name = Jack Lawson <>
  email =
  signingkey = Jack Lawson (jack) <>

Along with a line that tells git to automatically sign commits:

  gpgsign = true

And, henceforth, all of your commits shall be signed, and you too can have that beautiful, green [verified] badge.

Sidenote: I've started using for utilities like easily encrypting and verifying data with other users, and to generate messages to verify my signature on Twitter, GitHub, this blog, and the like.