Configuring ssh-agent

To store your passphrase so that you do not have to enter it each time you initiate a connection with a remote machine, you can use the ssh-agent authentication agent. If you are running GNOME, you can configure it to prompt you for your passphrase whenever you log in and remember it during the whole session. Otherwise you can store the passphrase for a certain shell prompt.
To save your passphrase during your GNOME session, follow these steps:
  1. Make sure you have the openssh-askpass package installed. If not, see Section 8.2.4, “Installing Packages” for more information on how to install new packages in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  2. Select SystemPreferencesStartup Applications from the panel. The Startup Applications Preferences will be started, and the tab containing a list of available startup programs will be shown by default.
    Startup Applications Preferences

    Figure 14.1. Startup Applications Preferences

  3. Click the Add button on the right, and enter /usr/bin/ssh-add in the Command field.
    Adding new application

    Figure 14.2. Adding new application

  4. Click Add and make sure the check box next to the newly added item is selected.
    Enabling the application

    Figure 14.3. Enabling the application

  5. Log out and then log back in. A dialog box will appear prompting you for your passphrase. From this point on, you should not be prompted for a password by ssh, scp, or sftp.
    Entering a passphrase

    Figure 14.4. Entering a passphrase

To save your passphrase for a certain shell prompt, use the following command:
~]$ ssh-add
Enter passphrase for /home/john/.ssh/id_rsa:
Note that when you log out, your passphrase will be forgotten. You must execute the command each time you log in to a virtual console or a terminal window.