Werner Koch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Werner Koch
Werner Koch Portrait 01.2015-2.jpg
Portrait of Werner Koch in January 2015.
Born (1961-07-11) July 11, 1961 (age 53)
Residence Düsseldorf, Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Software developer
Known for GNU Privacy Guard

Werner Koch (born July 11, 1961) is a German free software developer.[1] He is best known as the principal author of the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG).[2] He was also Head of Office and German Vice-Chancellor of the Free Software Foundation Europe.

Life and work[edit]

Koch lives in Erkrath, near Düsseldorf, Germany. He began writing GNU Privacy Guard in 1997, inspired by attending a talk by Richard Stallman who made a call for someone to write a replacement for Phil Zimmermann's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) which was subject to U.S. export restrictions.[2] The first release of GNU Privacy Guard was in 1999 and it went on to became the basis for most of the popular email encryption programs: GPGTools, Enigmail, and Koch's own Gpg4win, the primary free encryption program for Microsoft Windows.[2]

In 1999 Koch, via the German Unix User Group which he served on the board of,[2] received a grant of 318,000 marks (about $170,000 US) from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to make GPG compatible with Microsoft Windows.[1] In 2005 he received a contract from the German government to support the development of S/MIME. In 2015 he was awarded a one-time grant of $60,000 US from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative.[3] Also in 2015 Facebook and Stripe each pledged to annually donate $50,000 US to GPG development.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b Wayner, Peter (November 19, 1999). "Germany Awards Grant for Encryption". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Angwin, Julia (February 5, 2015). "The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke". ProPublica. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Thomson, Iain (February 5, 2015). "Internet lobs $$$s at dev of crucial GPG tool after he runs short of cash". The Register. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]