Dear reader, like myself, you have intensively read the man pages of the applications of the OpenSSL project, and like myself, you couldn't figure out where to start, and how to work securely with certificates. Here is the answer to most of your questions.
This HOWTO will also deal with non-linux applications: there is no use to issue certificates if you can't use them... All applications won't be listed here, but please, send me additional paragraphs and corrections. I can be reached at the following address:firstname.lastname@example.org.
This HOWTO is published on The Linux Documentation Project this is where you will find the lastest version of this document.
Copyright (c) 2001 by Franck Martin and others from the openssl-users mailing list under GFDL (the GNU Free Documentation License).
Please freely copy and distribute (sell or give away) this document in any format. It's requested that corrections and/or comments be forwarded to the document maintainer. You may create a derivative work and distribute it provided that you:
Send your derivative work (in the most suitable format such as sgml) to the LDP (Linux Documentation Project) or the like for posting on the Internet. If not the LDP, then let the LDP know where it is available.
License the derivative work with this same license or use GPL. Include a copyright notice and at least a pointer to the license used.
Give due credit to previous authors and major contributors. If you're considering making a derived work other than a translation, it's requested that you discuss your plans with the current maintainer.
It is also requested that if you publish this HOWTO in hardcopy that you send the authors some samples for 'review purposes' :-). You may also want to send something to cook my noodles ;-)
As indicated in the introduction, this documents is an hand-on HOWTO, and it is therefore required that you consult the man pages of the OpenSSL software. You should as well read security books to learn how your security could be compromised. Certificates are meant to increase the security of your transactions, it is VERY important that you understand all the security implications of your actions and what security OpenSSL does not provide.