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After a battle (circular dependency hell...) I managed to install Seahorse - the Gnome-based front end for GPG.
Although it seems to be a fine bit of software, and does everything I want of a GUI front-end to GPG, I found to my dismay that it would not work with my old (1996!) PGP RSA keys.
Now the command-line version of GPG does all the encrypt/decrypt sign/verify stuff perfectly well with those old keys - it's just the Seahorse GUI that fails with a "decrypt failed" error.
I guess I could just use the command-line GPG, but I did work so hard to get the Seahorse front-end working.
I guess I could just generate new keys and use those with Seahorse (which works by the way - I did it as a test) but unfortunately I still have files encrypted with my old keys and I still have friends who use those keys to communicate with me.
The Seahorse forum on Sourceforge seems defunct. If no-one here can help does anyone know where else I could ask?