Gitsign FAQ

Why use Gitsign instead of the usual commit signing workflow?

A typical commit signing workflow requires developers to create special signing keys that must be safely stored in the system that will sign the commits. Additionally, verifying signatures requires access to the signer’s public key. Distributing public keys while also attesting that they truly belong to a certain identity can be very challenging. That’s where keyless signing comes in handy, allowing developers to use their OpenID identities to sign commits and improve the overall trust of an open source project.

I signed my commit with Gitsign, but it shows up as “unverified” in my GitHub repository page. Why?

Unverified signed commit

At the moment, GitHub doesn’t recognize Gitsign signatures as verified for two reasons:

  1. The Sigstore CA root is not a part of GitHub’s trust root.
  2. Gitsign’s ephemeral keys are only valid for a short time, so using standard x509 verification would consider the certificate invalid after expiration. Verification needs to include validation via Rekor to verify that the certificate was valid at the time it was used.

We hope to work closely with GitHub to get these types of signatures recognized as verified in the near future.

You can find more information about GitHub’s commit signature verification in their official docs.

What data does Gitsign store?

Gitsign stores data in two places:

1. Within the Git commit

The commit itself contains a signed digest of the user commit content (that is, the author, committer, message, etc.) along with the code signing certificate. This data is stored within the commit itself as part of your repository. Review guidance on inspecting the Git commit signature for more details.

2. Within the Rekor transparency log

To be able to verify signatures for ephemeral certs past their Not After time, Gitsign records commits and the code signing certificates to Rekor. This data is a HashedRekord containing a SHA256 hash of the commit SHA, as well as the code signing certificate. Review guidance on Verifying the Transparency Log for more details.

By default, data is written to the public Rekor instance. In particular, users and organizations may be sensitive to the data contained within code signing certificates returned by Fulcio, which may include user emails or repository identifiers. Review OIDC Usage in Fulcio for more details regarding what data is contained in the code signing certs. Alternately, you can learn how to Deploy a Rekor Server Manually, which would set up your own Rekor instance.

Why does a browser window open for each commit in a rebase?

For Git, each commit in a rebase is considered a distinct signing operation so by default an ephemeral key is generated for each commit. To help, there are a few options to help automating the authentication process:

  • Setting the connectorID value can be set to automatically select the desired provider for Dex backed OIDC providers (including the public Sigstore instance at While this still requires a browser window to open, this does not require an extra click to select the provider.
  • Starting in v0.2.0, Gitsign has experimental support for key caching to allow users to reuse ephemeral keys for the lifetime of the Fulcio certificate. If you are interested, check out the gitsign-credential-cache README.
Edit this page on GitHub Updated at Tue, Mar 21, 2023