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1. Introduction

For those of you who have been using SSH for a while, you will probably understand it's advantages over the previous telnet style applications such as telnet and remote shell. Although SSH with keys has always been there, not many people know what it is about, and how you can utilize it's strenghts to make your life as a system administrator a bit more easy.

1.1 Why I am writing this

Before we get to the technical part of this howto I would like to share with you my motivations on writing this document. By explaining this to you all I hope to encourage more people to help one and another. Either by programming, documenting, reviewing or just giving those little thanks and compliments we all need so badly.

After I started a new job as unix sysadmin I ran into a colleague that used SSH with keys. Using keys has some major advantages over using SSH without keys, such as no more having to type in long and strong passwords all the time. Using SSH with keys by utilizing ssh-agent (which manages your keys for you during your session of for example xterm or even your entire X session) can be a great relief when you need to administer a large number of unix machines. After I started to use keys I needed an easy and convenient way to get my keys added to the ssh-agent for my entire Window Maker X session. Luckily my college already had this setup, so I could easily peek at his configurations when I couldn't get things to work. After I got it working, going through large amounts of intense pain, I thought : "There must be people that have gone through this trouble before. If they had documented their findings it would have been a lot more easier for me to get things going."

So here I am, documenting my findings, and trying to help those people who are in need of those small hints and hacks to get things to work.

So if you find this document useful and want to do me a favor, try and help someone else out by documenting your findings and solutions to the problems you run into yourself. Open-Source is what you make of it!

1.2 Read this first! (Disclaimer)

I am by no means an expert in the field of SSH, X, encryption, writing documentation or what so ever. I just found a way to make my life more easy by letting the right tools do the right job for me. I would like to share this with you to make your life a bit easier too! So if this document does not solve your problem, trashes your setup, or even makes your machine compose to nothing but the remains of a computer meltdown ... don't blame me for it.

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