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6.1 PKCS #10 certificate requests

A certificate request is a structure, which contain information about an applicant of a certificate service. It usually contains a private key, a distinguished name and secondary data such as a challenge password. GnuTLS supports the requests defined in PKCS #10 [RFC2986]. Other formats of certificate requests are not currently supported.

A certificate request can be generated by associating it with a private key, setting the subject’s information and finally self signing it. The last step ensures that the requester is in possession of the private key.

The gnutls_x509_crq_set_key and gnutls_x509_crq_sign2 functions associate the request with a private key and sign it. If a request is to be signed with a key residing in a PKCS #11 token it is recommended to use the signing functions shown in Abstract key types.

The following example is about generating a certificate request, and a private key. A certificate request can be later be processed by a CA which should return a signed certificate.

/* This example code is placed in the public domain. */

#include <config.h>

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <gnutls/gnutls.h>
#include <gnutls/x509.h>
#include <gnutls/abstract.h>
#include <time.h>

/* This example will generate a private key and a certificate
 * request.

main (void)
  gnutls_x509_crq_t crq;
  gnutls_x509_privkey_t key;
  unsigned char buffer[10 * 1024];
  size_t buffer_size = sizeof (buffer);
  unsigned int bits;

  gnutls_global_init ();

  /* Initialize an empty certificate request, and
   * an empty private key.
  gnutls_x509_crq_init (&crq);

  gnutls_x509_privkey_init (&key);

  /* Generate an RSA key of moderate security.
  bits = gnutls_sec_param_to_pk_bits (GNUTLS_PK_RSA, GNUTLS_SEC_PARAM_NORMAL);
  gnutls_x509_privkey_generate (key, GNUTLS_PK_RSA, bits, 0);

  /* Add stuff to the distinguished name
  gnutls_x509_crq_set_dn_by_oid (crq, GNUTLS_OID_X520_COUNTRY_NAME,
                                 0, "GR", 2);

  gnutls_x509_crq_set_dn_by_oid (crq, GNUTLS_OID_X520_COMMON_NAME,
                                 0, "Nikos", strlen ("Nikos"));

  /* Set the request version.
  gnutls_x509_crq_set_version (crq, 1);

  /* Set a challenge password.
  gnutls_x509_crq_set_challenge_password (crq, "something to remember here");

  /* Associate the request with the private key
  gnutls_x509_crq_set_key (crq, key);

  /* Self sign the certificate request.
  gnutls_x509_crq_sign2 (crq, key, GNUTLS_DIG_SHA1, 0);

  /* Export the PEM encoded certificate request, and
   * display it.
  gnutls_x509_crq_export (crq, GNUTLS_X509_FMT_PEM, buffer, &buffer_size);

  printf ("Certificate Request: \n%s", buffer);

  /* Export the PEM encoded private key, and
   * display it.
  buffer_size = sizeof (buffer);
  gnutls_x509_privkey_export (key, GNUTLS_X509_FMT_PEM, buffer, &buffer_size);

  printf ("\n\nPrivate key: \n%s", buffer);

  gnutls_x509_crq_deinit (crq);
  gnutls_x509_privkey_deinit (key);

  return 0;


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