This document demonstrates and explains the GnuTLS library API. A brief introduction to the protocols and the technology involved is also included so that an application programmer can better understand the GnuTLS purpose and actual offerings. Even if GnuTLS is a typical library software, it operates over several security and cryptographic protocols which require the programmer to make careful and correct usage of them. Otherwise it is likely to only obtain a false sense of security. The term of security is very broad even if restricted to computer software, and cannot be confined to a single cryptographic library. For that reason, do not consider any program secure just because it uses GnuTLS; there are several ways to compromise a program or a communication line and GnuTLS only helps with some of them.
Although this document tries to be self contained, basic network programming and public key infrastructure (PKI) knowledge is assumed in most of it. A good introduction to networking can be found in [STEVENS], to public key infrastructure in [GUTPKI] and to security engineering in [ANDERSON].
Updated versions of the GnuTLS software and this document will be available from http://www.gnutls.org/.