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Linux Network Administrators Guide


program input/output to or from it just like any other command, except that the input or output is directed to or from the remote host via the ssh connection. Here is an example of how you might use this capability in combination with the tar command to copy a whole directory with subdirectories and files from a remote host to the local host:


 $ ssh vchianti.vbrew.com "tar cf - /etc/" | tar xvf -
 maggie@vchianti.vbrew.com's password:

Here we surrounded the command we will execute with quotation marks to make it clear what is passed as an argument to ssh and what is used by the local shell. This command executes the tar command on the remote host to archive the /etc/ directory and write the output to standard output. We've piped to an instance of the tar command running on our local host in extract mode reading from standard input.

Again, we were prompted for the password. Now you can see why we encouraged you to configure ssh so that it doesn't prompt you for passwords all the time! Let's now configure our local ssh client so that it won't prompt for a password when connecting to the vchianti.vbrew.com host. We mentioned the .ssh/authorized_keys file earlier; this is where it is used. The .ssh/authorized_keys file contains the public keys on any remote user accounts that we wish to automatically log in to. You can set up automatic logins by copying the contents of the .ssh/identity.pub from the remote account into our local .ssh/authorized_keys file. It is vital that the file permissions of .ssh/authorized_keys allow only that you read and write it; anyone may steal and use the keys to log in to that remote account. To ensure the permissions are correct, change .ssh/authorized_keys , as shown:


 $ chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys 

The public keys are a long single line of plain text. If you use copy and paste to duplicate the key into your local file, be sure to remove any end of line characters that might have been introduced along the way. The .ssh/authorized_keys file may contain many such keys, each on a line of its own.

The ssh suite of tools is very powerful and there are many other useful features and options that you will be interested in exploring. Please refer to the manual pages and other documentation that is supplied with the package for more information.

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