I’m working on QRate, a tool to backup stuff as QR codes in a PDF that can be printed.

Since I started playing with a few SSH/PGP keys recently, it became apparent that the private keys need to be properly backed up, or everything is at risk of loss.

One approach that I’ve seen around is to print the keys, because paper and ink can have good preservation capabilities (as long as you protect them properly), are mostly immune to cosmic rays and best of all are disconnected.

My search skills might have fallen recently, though. The only thing that I’ve found around is Paperkey, which seems like a drag to use in its original form because it would then require to type a lot of stuff to restore the key.

The page itself suggests to use QR codes and provides a couple examples, BUT (you saw it coming) it can rapidly hit the limits of encoding of a single QR code, forcing to use a Low value for redundancy. To be honest, this seems sub-optimal, because we’re talking backup here and I want the High value of redundancy.

So I played a bit with the program qrencode (in a Try with Docker way) and… I don’t know. There seems to be an option to trigger the automatic splitting of files that are bigger than the maximum size, it produces files, they seem like good ones but… I can’t read them back. So it’s proved a dead end as well.

At the end of the day, I’m thinking about doing something myself. One alternative is to use the shell and leverage command-line tools, on the other to do proper Perl programming, which I’ll probably choose.

Stay tuned!

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