The feature was a building block that was intended to be used in much the same way that SHA package hashes are used, providing similar security to the ssh-style TOFU model, but less security than other imaginable public key systems. The idea was that it could provide more security in practice because the signatures could exist and be present with the archive, unlike gpg which provides loads of security in theory only. Unfortunately wheel signatures were never built up. I don't think anyone was tricked into believing the primitive provided security on its own.

On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 2:21 PM Nathaniel Smith <> wrote:
Even if no maintenance were required, it's still a feature that promises to provide security but doesn't. This kind of feature has negative value.

I'd also suggest adding a small note to the PEP documenting that the signing feature didn't work out, and maybe linking to Donald's package signing blog post. I know updating PEPs isn't the most common thing, but it's the main documentation of the wheel format and it'll save confusion later.

On Mar 22, 2018 10:57 AM, "Wes Turner" <> wrote:
What maintenance is required?

Here's a link to the previous discussion of this issue:

"Remove or deprecate wheel-signing features"

What has changed? There is still no method for specifying a keyring; whereas with GPG, all keys in the ring are trusted.

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Nick Coghlan <> wrote:
On 22 March 2018 at 22:35, <> wrote:
I am not changing the format of RECORD, I'm simply removing the
cryptographic signing and verifying functionality, just the way you
described. Hash checking will stay. As we agreed earlier, those
features could be deprecated or removed from the PEP entirely.

Cool, that's what I thought you meant, but I figured I should double check since our discussion was a while ago now :)


Nick Coghlan   |   |   Brisbane, Australia

Distutils-SIG maillist  -

Distutils-SIG maillist  -