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In the openssl.conf can I e.g. see

[ CA_default ]

dir             = $ENV::KEY_DIR         # Where everything is kept
certs           = $dir                  # Where the issued certs are kept
crl_dir         = $dir                  # Where the issued crl are kept
database        = $dir/index.txt        # database index file.
new_certs_dir   = $dir                  # default place for new certs.

If I set new_certs_dir to $dir/newcerts then when I create a new certificate then e.g. a file called 17.pam is placed there instead of in $dir.

What does openssl use these files for?

However if I set certs to e.g. $dir/certs and create the directory, I would have expected that new crt, csr, key files would be place there, but they are still put in $dir.

Does anyone know what certs is for?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The folder named "Certs" is used as a central point to store your *.pem files which are the Public Keys of a specific certificate;

Let me give you an example of how it works.

Lets say that you Open a new account on the EC2 Amazon Cluster, and you create a new box, you are asked to download the *.pem files, so you can authenticate that you are the user that enabled such box.

So, once you have the certificate, you can put it on your certs folder, and then, execute something like this.

ssh -i demo.pem ubuntu@ec2-nnn-nnn-nnn-nnn.compute.1.amazonaws.com

But be carefull, these certs must be under a certain user permission and a certain execution/configuration, because you would not want another users on the same box to use these files.

Another thing are the issued_certs folder, which in this case, that would be the folder where you keep all your certificates and their corresponding keys that have been created with openSSL.

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I was under the impression that certs were the issued_certs folder, as new crt, csr, key are put there. Is there a way to have these created in e.g. $dir/issued_certs? –  Sandra Feb 16 '12 at 18:06
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