SSH Agents

The Blog of Tom Webster

  2017-08-08 20:51:58 PDT

I recently re-installed Gnome 3 on my Debian Sid machine and I quickly realized why I left for XFCE. The damn Gnome Keyring trying to rule my life (and ssh-agent). Here’s what I found to fix it.

I’m linking and mirroring these steps in case the original sources ever go away.

mkdir ~/.config/autostart
cp /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-keyring-ssh.desktop ~/.config/autostart/ &&
printf '%s\n' 'Hidden=true' >> ~/.config/autostart/gnome-keyring-ssh.desktop
printf '%s\n' 'X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=false' >> ~/.config/autostart/gnome-keyring-ssh.desktop
printf '%s\n' 'NoDisplay=true' >> ~/.config/autostart/gnome-keyring-ssh.desktop

sudo dpkg-divert --local --rename --divert /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-keyring-gpg.desktop-disable --add /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-keyring-gpg.desktop

On Arch Linux, the following works really great (should work on all systemd-based distros):

Create a systemd user service, by putting the following to ~/.config/systemd/user/ssh-agent.service:

Description=SSH key agent

ExecStart=/usr/bin/ssh-agent -a $SSH_AUTH_SOCK


Setup shell to have an environment variable for the socket (.bash_profile, .zshrc, ...):

export SSH_AUTH_SOCK="$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/ssh-agent.socket"

Enable the service, so it’ll be started automatically on login, and start it:

systemctl --user enable ssh-agent
systemctl --user start ssh-agent

Add the following configuration setting to your ssh config file ~/.ssh/config (this works since SSH 7.2):

AddKeysToAgent	yes

This will instruct the ssh client to always add the key to a running agent, so there’s no need to ssh-add it beforehand.

As a disclaimer, these answers have been copied wholesale (and linked to the original source) for preservation.