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Looking for advice on tools (or libraries) for unsupervised, bulk symmetric encryption/decryption of files

I am looking for software to symmetric-encrypt large numbers of files on disk (terabytes' worth of data), and would appreciate some advice.

My basic requirements:
  • It should be open source and no-cost (though, since I'm asking this question here, this goes without saying);
  • I should be able to program scripts (shell, Python, Perl, or Ruby) to run this software without human intervention; this rules out tools that are designed for interactive use.
  • It should be stable; I should be able to decrypt encrypted files that were encrypted several years earlier; (how much earlier?  hard to say; let's say 10 years, as a rough ballpark)
In addition, the following would be nice:
  • good documentation;
  • good performance;
  • bindings for a high-level language (preferably Python).
The only encryption tool I have used for encrypting files on my hard drive is gpg2, which I have used for small, interactive encryption tasks (half-dozen files, at most).

Therefore, my initial attempt was to use gpg2 for this new bulk-encryption task, but I found myself constantly fighting with it, and finally had to recognize that I was trying to use gpg2 for something it is not primarily designed for.  (I am also a bit concerned with gpg2's future stability.  AFAICT, It's design has varied significantly over the years, and as a result there's a lot of confusion on its use.  That has been my experience, in any case.)

So I am back to square one.

I stress that I am interested only in symmetric encryption.  The issues that asymmetric encryption addresses are not at all part of the problem I am dealing with, and therefore I don't want to have to deal with the complexities of asymmetric encryption.

What Debian packages would you recommend?

Many thanks in advance!