Day: June 23, 2013

Personal GUIDs

NOTE: Page updated August 2019. The original version of the software PersonalGuid contained a bug and did not include the DateOfBirth in the data. It therefore never produced the correct GUIDs. A new version (1.0.1) has been released which fixes the issue (The linked project zip file has been updated).

I’ve always liked GUIDs, and I have always liked the idea of having “personal guids”. While everyone on the planet could be assigned a GUID, it would require some central authority to ensure each person only has one GUID rather than just generating a whole bunch. I like the idea that a GUID can be specifically for someone based on their details, not just freshly generated.

Type 5 GUIDs are perfect for this type of GUID use. A Type 5 GUID is based on a SHA1 hash of some arbitrary namespace ID, and then whatever values make sense for that namespace. So I shall create my own standard for assigning a GUID for everyone.

First I make an ID string that is flexible enough to include everyone, but unique for each person. Also it should be readily repeatable exactly the same way each time for the same person.

My ID format is simple: Its a UTF8 string in uppercase withe semi colons seperating the fields. There are 6 fields. The format is:


All values should be uppercase. DateOfBirth is of the format YYYYMMDD in 8 decimal digits. Sex is either ‘M’, ‘F’, or ‘X’. GivenNames may have multiple names, separated by a single space between names. There must be no padding within the fields.

(Note: The original version of this used “Gender” rather than “Sex” and only accepted ‘M’ or ‘F’. This has been updated to include ‘X’ – August 2019)

An example ID string is:


Next I need an Namespace ID for this namespace I have created. A namespace ID is a GUID itself. I am assigning the GUID:  {5b390b3f-9a62-508a-b235-6e6e8d270720}. I could have generated any new GUID. However I decided to make a Type 5 GUID itself for the Namespace ID. The name GUID is the type 5 GUID of the URL of this article (

So the Type 5 GUID created from that Namespace ID and the ID string example above is {18448b15-02cc-58f2-857d-c7a2c07728d2}. This is a GUID that is specific to that ID and recreateable at anytime, as long as the name and birthdate and place doesn’t change!

I have modified the program I wrote to create the Type 5 GUIDs for URLs into creating personal GUIDs using this format. – C Source Code and Binaries for Windows, OSX, and Linux. This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.

Example usage:

>PersonalGuid.exe Doe John m Australia Sydney 19700101

So download and find your own personal GUID. Perhaps one day this will become the basis of an RFC defining this as a standard :-)



I’ve put the CryptLib up on GitHub, as I thought that might be a useful way for people to find and get source code.

This contains the C source code for MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA512, and RC4, along with the projects Md5String, Sha1String, Sha256String, Sha512String, and Rc4Output.

The current version (1.0.0) is now on GitHub, the zip can also be downloaded here.

This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.


The built in types of C are not useful enough on their own as they vary between compilers. For example a long is 32 bits on Windows, but 64 bits on OSX. This makes using them in function prototypes problematic if word size is important. A lot of libraries define their own types, but again I don’t want to have this dependency. Fortunately there are some standard .h files that come with most C compilers now. C99 defines several standard files, one is stdint.h. This file defines data types such as uint32_t, which specifies an exact type. Microsoft’s C compilers are not C99 compliant, however they do include a subset. Fortunately they do include stdint.h. Which means I can use those without any problems on Windows. Both Linux and OSX (and probably most other gcc compilers) have stdint.h as well.

While stdint.h provides most of the base types that I want to use, there is one obvious one that is missing. C itself does not define a boolean type, but C99 defines stdbool.h which has the type bool and the value true and false. These are very basic types that I wish were built directly into the compiler. Unfortunately MS C does not come with stdbool.h. Even though its only a couple of lines in length. I’ve seen arguments on the Internet about whether a boolean type is required or useful. Some people think not, but I personally like them. Although the type is nothing special, its in fact just an int or a char probably, the usage of the type is different from a regular integer. Having an explicit type makes code clearer what its use is. For example if I have a function that returns a success that can only have two states (success, or not success), then having the return type a bool is far more clear than having the return an int. If its an int I’m going to wonder what possible values it could return are, maybe it returns different error codes. With a bool return type I can see that it simply returns a true/false state.

Because MSVC doesn’t contain stdbool.h I resisted using it initially with these projects. But I have decided its just too useful to ignore. So I have extended my build environment to have my own version of stdbool.h which is only used on Windows builds. Most of the core library cryptographic functions won’t use bool anyway, but some of the other projects will. This does mean there is one slight dependency when working in Windows, and thats the stdbool.h file I’ve added. It will be very easy for anyone to remove that dependency though. Simply replace bool with int, false with 0, true with 1, and remove #include <stdbool.h>. This could even be done with a very simple script.

The contents of my stdbool.h file are as follows:

#ifndef _STDBOOL_H_
#define _STDBOOL_H_

#ifndef __cplusplus
#ifndef __bool_true_false_are_defined

typedef int     bool;
#define true    1
#define false   0

#define __bool_true_false_are_defined

#endif //__bool_true_false_are_defined
#endif //__cplusplus

#endif //_STDBOOL_H_

The __bool_true_false_are_defined definition is part of the C99 standard. So I check that and don’t redefine if its already set. Additionally I make a check that its not C++ because C++ natively has bool, false, and true.