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Howto: Automatic OS X Leopard ssh-agent

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Update: March 9, 2010

Somehow I failed to notice that since 10.5 ssh agent is automatically started by OS X. My script just duplicated work that was already built-in to the OS.

To add a passphrase for a private key just type:

ssh-add -K keyfile_rsa

After this, ssh-agent is started automatically whenever ssh needs it. No extra work needed.

Comments

I found that the "sudo touch /var/db/useLS" command given at http://www-uxsup.csx.cam.ac.uk/~aia21/osx/leopard-ssh.html with a reboot worked for me. The site says that you don't need the touch with Leopard, but with Snow Leopard it didn't work for me until I did it. HTH

You can also make a shell alias which adds your key to ssh-agent when ssh is called. I find this preferable to storing your private key password in the Keychain. I use tcsh, so this alias does the trick:

alias ssh 'if (`ssh-add -l` == "The agent has no identities.") ssh-add; /usr/bin/ssh'

You can communicate with dimmeria over a secure connection by typing in https:// instead of http:// . If your browser asks you, make sure you click on "accept the certificate". It's a good idea to connect securely before you type in your username and password. Otherwise anybody in between you and this website can see your password. You should always look for the "padlock" icon before typing in your password on any website.

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