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20.7.3.4. Configuring ssh-agent with a GUI

The ssh-agent utility can be used to save your passphrase so that you do not have to enter it each time you initiate an ssh or scp connection. If you are using GNOME, the gnome-ssh-askpass package contains the application used to prompt you for your passphrase when you log in to GNOME and save it until you log out of GNOME. You will not have to enter your password or passphrase for any ssh or scp connection made during that GNOME session. If you are not using GNOME, refer to Section 20.7.3.5, “Configuring ssh-agent.
To save your passphrase during your GNOME session, follow the following steps:
  1. You will need to have the package gnome-ssh-askpass installed; you can use the command rpm -q openssh-askpass to determine if it is installed or not. If it is not installed, install it from your Red Hat Enterprise Linux CD-ROM set, from a Red Hat FTP mirror site, or using Red Hat Network.
  2. Select Main Menu Button (on the Panel) > Preferences > More Preferences > Sessions, and click on the Startup Programs tab. Click Add and enter /usr/bin/ssh-add in the Startup Command text area. Set it a priority to a number higher than any existing commands to ensure that it is executed last. A good priority number for ssh-add is 70 or higher. The higher the priority number, the lower the priority. If you have other programs listed, this one should have the lowest priority. Click Close to exit the program.
  3. Log out and then log back into GNOME; in other words, restart X. After GNOME is started, a dialog box will appear prompting you for your passphrase(s). Enter the passphrase requested. If you have both DSA and RSA key pairs configured, you will be prompted for both. From this point on, you should not be prompted for a password by ssh, scp, or sftp.