> If I have learned anything from Francois's code is that you
> can never be sure if you get a partial or a full packet.

Right !

> The question is if a packet is encrypted (des3) how do you know
> you have received the full packet ?

The kind of data into the packet doesn't change anything.

> Obviously you can not check for a string or a delimiter that
> would tell you that the packet is complete.

You have to thing about your own protocol (see Angus excellent answer). You
have to think into [software] layers. You have the upper layer where the
data is as seen by the user, then you have the  cryptography layer where you
encrypt/decrypt data (using DES in your case), then you have the transport
layer where the TCP connection is used. As data traverse layers from top to
down, you add any data needed to move it to the next layer without loosing
data and data boundaries. When you traverse from down to top (at the other
side of the communication), you extract usefull data from the packets and
pass it to the next level.
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