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Help on module ssh-ident:
ssh-ident - Start and use ssh-agent and load identities as necessary.
Use this script to start ssh-agents and load ssh keys on demand,
when they are first needed.
All you have to do is modify your .bashrc to have:
alias ssh='/path/to/ssh-ident'
or add a link to ssh-ident from a directory in your PATH, for example:
ln -s /path/to/ssh-ident ~/bin/ssh
If you use scp or rsync regularly, you should add a few more lines described
In any case, ssh-ident:
- will create an ssh-agent and load the keys you need the first time you
actually need them, once. No matter how many terminals, ssh or login
sessions you have, no matter if your home is shared via NFS.
- can prepare and use a different agent and different set of keys depending
on the host you are connecting to, or the directory you are using ssh
This allows for isolating keys when using agent forwarding with different
sites (eg, university, work, home, secret evil internet identity, ...).
It also allows to use multiple accounts on sites like github, unfuddle
and gitorious easily.
- allows to specify different options for each set of keys. For example, you
can provide a -t 60 to keep keys loaded for at most 60 seconds. Or -c to
always ask for confirmation before using a key.
All you need to run ssh-ident is a standard installation of python >= 2.6,
python > 3 is supported.
If your system has wget and are impatient to use it, you can install
ssh-ident with two simple commands:
mkdir -p ~/bin; wget -O ~/bin/ssh; chmod 0755 ~/bin/ssh
echo 'export PATH=~/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
Logout, login, and done. SSH should now invoke ssh-ident instead of the
standard ssh.
In .bashrc, I have:
alias ssh=/home/ccontavalli/scripts/ssh-ident
all I have to do now is logout, login and then:
$ ssh somewhere
ssh-ident will be called instead of ssh, and it will:
- check if an agent is running. If not, it will start one.
- try to load all the keys in ~/.ssh, if not loaded.
If I now ssh again, or somewhere else, ssh-ident will reuse the same agent
and the same keys, if valid.
About scp, rsync, and friends
scp, rsync, and most similar tools internally invoke ssh. If you don't tell
them to use ssh-ident instead, key loading won't work. There are a few ways
to solve the problem:
1) Rename 'ssh-ident' to 'ssh' or create a symlink 'ssh' pointing to
ssh-ident in a directory in your PATH before /usr/bin or /bin, similarly
to what was described previously. For example, add to your .bashrc:
export PATH="~/bin:$PATH"
And run:
ln -s /path/to/ssh-ident ~/bin/ssh
Make sure `echo $PATH` shows '~/bin' *before* '/usr/bin' or '/bin'. You
can verify this is working as expected with `which ssh`, which should
show ~/bin/ssh.
This works for rsync and git, among others, but not for scp and sftp, as
these do not look for ssh in your PATH but use a hard-coded path to the
If you want to use ssh-ident with scp or sftp, you can simply create
symlinks for them as well:
ln -s /path/to/ssh-ident ~/bin/scp
ln -s /path/to/ssh-ident ~/bin/sftp
2) Add a few more aliases in your .bashrc file, for example:
alias scp='BINARY_SSH=scp /path/to/ssh-ident'
alias rsync='BINARY_SSH=rsync /path/to/ssh-ident'
The first alias will make the 'scp' command invoke 'ssh-ident' instead,
but tell 'ssh-ident' to invoke 'scp' instead of the plain 'ssh' command
after loading the necessary agents and keys.
Note that aliases don't work from scripts - if you have any script that
you expect to use with ssh-ident, you may prefer method 1), or you will
need to update the script accordingly.
3) Use command specific methods to force them to use ssh-ident instead of
ssh, for example:
rsync -e '/path/to/ssh-ident' ...
scp -S '/path/to/ssh-ident' ...
4) Replace the real ssh on the system with ssh-ident, and set the
BINARY_SSH configuration parameter to the original value.
On Debian based system, you can make this change in a way that
will survive automated upgrades and audits by running:
dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/ssh.ssh-ident --rename /usr/bin/ssh
After which, you will need to use:
Config file with multiple identities
To have multiple identities, all I have to do is:
1) create a ~/.ssh-ident file. In this file, I need to tell ssh-ident which
identities to use and when. The file should look something like:
# Specifies which identity to use depending on the path I'm running ssh
# from.
# For example: ("mod-xslt", "personal") means that for any path that
# contains the word "mod-xslt", the "personal" identity should be used.
# This is optional - don't include any MATCH_PATH if you don't need it.
# (directory pattern, identity)
(r"mod-xslt", "personal"),
(r"ssh-ident", "personal"),
(r"opt/work", "work"),
(r"opt/private", "secret"),
# If any of the ssh arguments have 'cweb' in it, the 'personal' identity
# has to be used. For example: "ssh" will have cweb in
# argv, and the "personal" identity will be used.
# This is optional - don't include any MATCH_ARGV if you don't
# need it.
(r"cweb", "personal"),
(r"corp", "work"),
# Note that if no match is found, the DEFAULT_IDENTITY is used. This is
# generally your loginname, no need to change it.
# This is optional - don't include any DEFAULT_IDENTITY if you don't
# need it.
# This is optional - don't include any SSH_ADD_OPTIONS if you don't
# need it.
# Regardless, ask for confirmation before using any of the
# work keys.
"work": "-c",
# Forget about secret keys after ten minutes. ssh-ident will
# automatically ask you your passphrase again if they are needed.
"secret": "-t 600",
# This is option - dont' include any SSH_OPTIONS if you don't
# need it.
# Otherwise, provides options to be passed to 'ssh' for specifc
# identities.
# Disable forwarding of the agent, but enable X forwarding,
# when using the work profile.
"work": "-Xa",
# Always forward the agent when using the secret identity.
"secret": "-A"
# Options to pass to ssh by default.
# If you don't specify anything, UserRoaming=no is passed, due
# to CVE-2016-0777. Leave it empty to disable this.
"SSH_DEFAULT_OPTIONS": "-oUseRoaming=no",
# Which options to use by default if no match with SSH_ADD_OPTIONS
# was found. Note that ssh-ident hard codes -t 7200 to prevent your
# keys from remaining in memory for too long.
# Output verbosity
# valid values are: LOG_ERROR, LOG_WARN, LOG_INFO, LOG_DEBUG
2) Create the directory where all the identities and agents
will be kept:
$ mkdir -p ~/.ssh/identities; chmod u=rwX,go= -R ~/.ssh
3) Create a directory for each identity, for example:
$ mkdir -p ~/.ssh/identities/personal
$ mkdir -p ~/.ssh/identities/work
$ mkdir -p ~/.ssh/identities/secret
4) Generate (or copy) keys for those identities:
# Default keys are for my personal account
$ cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa* ~/.ssh/identities/personal
# Generate keys to be used for work only, rsa
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -f ~/.ssh/identities/work/id_rsa
Now if I run:
$ ssh
ssh-ident will be invoked instead, and:
1) check ssh argv, determine that the "work" identity has to be used.
2) look in ~/.ssh/agents, for a "work" agent loaded. If there is no
agent, it will prepare one.
3) look in ~/.ssh/identities/work/* for a list of keys to load for this
identity. It will try to load any key that is not already loaded in
the agent.
4) finally run ssh with the environment setup such that it will have
access only to the agent for the identity work, and the corresponding
Note that ssh-ident needs to access both your private and public keys. Note
also that it identifies public keys by the .pub extension. All files in your
identities subdirectories will be considered keys.
If you want to only load keys that have "key" in the name, you can add
to your .ssh-ident:
The default is:
"PATTERN_KEYS": r"/(id_.*|identity.*|ssh[0-9]-.*)"
You can also redefine:
DIR_IDENTITIES = "$HOME/.ssh/identities"
DIR_AGENTS = "$HOME/.ssh/agents"
To point somewhere else if you so desire.
If you need to use ssh-ident on a debian / ubuntu / or any other
derivate, you can now build debian packages.
1. Make sure you have devscripts installed:
sudo apt-get install devscripts
2. Download ssh-ident in a directory of your choice (ssh-ident)
git clone ssh-ident
3. Build the .deb package:
cd ssh-ident && debuild
4. Profit:
cd ..; dpkg -i ssh-ident*.deb
- Carlo Contavalli,, main author.
- Hubert depesz Lubaczewski,, support
for using environment variables for configuration.
- Flip Hess,, support for building
a .deb out of ssh-ident.
- Terrel Shumway,, port to python3.
- black2754,, vim modeline, support
for verbosity settings, and BatchMode passing.
- Michael Heap,, support for per
identities config files.
- Carl Drougge,, CVE-2016-0777 fix,
fix for per user config files, and use /bin/env instead of python
class AgentManager(__builtin__.object)
| Manages the ssh-agent for one identity.
| Methods defined here:
| FindUnloadedKeys(self, keys)
| Determines which keys have not been loaded yet.
| Args:
| keys: dict as returned by FindKeys.
| Returns:
| iterable of strings, paths to private key files to load.
| GetLoadedKeys(self)
| Returns an iterable of strings, each the fingerprint of a loaded key.
| GetShellArgs(self)
| Returns the flags to be passed to the shell to run a command.
| LoadKeyFiles(self, keys)
| Load all specified keys.
| Args:
| keys: iterable of strings, each string a path to a key to load.
| LoadUnloadedKeys(self, keys)
| Loads all the keys specified that are not loaded.
| Args:
| keys: dict as returned by FindKeys.
| RunSSH(self, argv)
| Execs ssh with the specified arguments.
| __init__(self, identity, sshconfig, config)
| Initializes an AgentManager object.
| Args:
| identity: string, identity the ssh-agent managed by this instance of
| an AgentManager will control.
| config: object implementing the Config interface, allows access to
| the user configuration parameters.
| Attributes:
| identity: same as above.
| config: same as above.
| agents_path: directory where the config of all agents is kept.
| agent_file: the config of the agent corresponding to this identity.
| Parameters:
| DIR_AGENTS: used to compute agents_path.
| BINARY_SSH: path to the ssh binary.
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Static methods defined here:
| EscapeShellArguments(argv)
| Escapes all arguments to the shell, returns a string.
| GetAgentFile(path, identity)
| Returns the path to an agent config file.
| Args:
| path: string, the path where agent config files are kept.
| identity: string, identity for which to load the agent.
| Returns:
| string, path to the agent file.
| GetPublicKeyFingerprint(key)
| Returns the fingerprint of a public key as a string.
| IsAgentFileValid(agentfile)
| Returns true if the specified agentfile refers to a running agent.
| RunShellCommand(command)
| Runs a shell command, returns (status, stdout), (int, string).
| RunShellCommandInAgent(agentfile, command)
| Runs a shell command with an agent configured in the environment.
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Data descriptors defined here:
| __dict__
| dictionary for instance variables (if defined)
| __weakref__
| list of weak references to the object (if defined)
class Config(__builtin__.object)
| Holds and loads users configurations.
| Methods defined here:
| Get(self, parameter)
| Returns the value of a parameter, or causes the script to exit.
| Load(self)
| Load configurations from the default user file.
| Set(self, parameter, value)
| Sets configuration option parameter to value.
| __init__(self)
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Static methods defined here:
| Expand(value)
| Expand environment variables or ~ in string parameters.
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Data descriptors defined here:
| __dict__
| dictionary for instance variables (if defined)
| __weakref__
| list of weak references to the object (if defined)
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Data and other attributes defined here:
| defaults = {'BINARY_DIR': None, 'BINARY_SSH': None, 'DEFAULT_IDENTITY'...
class SshIdentPrint(__builtin__.object)
| Wrapper around python's print function.
| Methods defined here:
| __call__ = write(self, *args, **kwargs)
| __init__(self, config)
| config: object implementing the Config interface, allows access to
| the user configuration parameters.
| Attributes:
| config: same as above.
| python_print: python's print function (hopefully)
| Parameters:
| SSH_BATCH_MODE: used to check if messages should be printed or not
| VERBOSITY: used to check if messages should be printed or not
| write(self, *args, **kwargs)
| Passes all parameters to python's print,
| unless output is disabled by the configuration.
| The interface is compatible with python's print, but supports the
| optional paramter 'loglevel' in addition.
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Data descriptors defined here:
| __dict__
| dictionary for instance variables (if defined)
| __weakref__
| list of weak references to the object (if defined)
AutodetectBinary(argv, config)
Detects the correct binary to run and sets BINARY_SSH accordingly,
if it is not already set.
FindIdentity(argv, config)
Returns the identity to use based on current directory or argv.
argv: iterable of string, argv passed to this program.
config: instance of an object implementing the same interface as
the Config class.
string, the name of the identity to use.
FindIdentityInList(elements, identities)
Matches a list of identities to a list of elements.
elements: iterable of strings, arbitrary strings to match on.
identities: iterable of (string, string), with first string
being a regular expression, the second string being an identity.
The identity specified in identities for the first regular expression
matching the first element in elements.
FindKeys(identity, config)
Finds all the private and public keys associated with an identity.
identity: string, name of the identity to load strings of.
config: object implementing the Config interface, providing configurations
for the user.
dict, {"key name": {"pub": "/path/to/public/key", "priv":
"/path/to/private/key"}}, for each key found, the path of the public
key and private key. The key name is just a string representing the
key. Note that for a given key, it is not guaranteed that both the
public and private key will be found.
The return value is affected by DIR_IDENTITIES and PATTERN_KEYS
configuration parameters.
FindSSHConfig(identity, config)
Finds a config file if there's one associated with an identity
identity: string, name of the identity to load strings of.
config: object implementing the Config interface, providing configurations
for the user.
string, the configuration file to use
ParseCommandLine(argv, config)
Parses the command line parameters in argv
and modifies config accordingly.
ShouldPrint(config, loglevel)
Returns true if a message by the specified loglevel should be printed.
print_function = _Feature((2, 6, 0, 'alpha', 2), (3, 0, 0, 'alpha', 0)...