The SSH-wiss Army Knife


Linux Rox!I wrote about SSH port forwarding a while ago but I don’t think y’all heard me. Listen up. (Place your ear within mere centimeters of your monitor if you will so that I can scream at’cha.) SECURE SHELL IS TEH BEST TOOL YOU’LL EVER USE IN YOUR ENGINEERING CAREER! I’m writing today because I was reminded from an incoming blog link about the power locked in this three letter acronym: S-S-H

By itself it doesn’t look interesting. However, if you take a minute to learn what it means, what it does, and what it can do then you’ll see why the above sentence is in all bold caps. It’s one of those things that people take for granite, like the extra buttons on your microwave. If you’re like me (and you must be or else you wouldn’t be reading) then you probably never use anything other than the “quick minute” and start buttons on the microwave. The meat/poultry, popcorn, and reheat buttons are just for show and whether they function or not is just a mystery. That’s how most people see ssh. But, but… when you learn what goes on under the acronym you start to look at those other people like fools that literally drive 747 Boeing’s to/from work and complain when they get stuck in rush hour traffic.

Let me stop right there. Have you ever had that experience before? Have you ever found out how to really use something like your TIVO or VCR, or maybe it was all the hidden features in your car like auto off lights, tire pressure monitor, and the multi-user programmable power seat adjustments. Have you later watched somebody with the same equipment literally ignore/abuse the features? Here’s the tricky part. These very same people will look at you cross eyed as you spend hours/days trying to figure out how/why feature “X” will/won’t work while they have found the shortest most abusive 30 second path to gratification. There is something to be said of folks from both camps but I’ll leave that for after post discussion if you feel like commenting. (I’m waay off topic.)

So far I’ve found at least 7-10 good uses for SSH ranging from X11 forwarding to remote port forwarding to transparent access to remote Linux-based file systems, and more. I’m certain there are many more that I haven’t found or stepped into on my way to the shed to pull out my trusty dusty mower. What way do you use SSH? Do you cut it with a 5th of gin? Have you tried it with hot sauce? Does it work well as an antacid? Maybe you’ve manage to repair that hole in your vinyl upholstery with it. Whether you’ve fixed a flat or refinanced your mortgage with it I’d love to hear your story.

2 thoughts on “The SSH-wiss Army Knife

  1. Hey Cliff — thanks for a helpful post. I’ve got an OpenBSD box between my modem and LAN, and a G4 on my desk. I’ve been using ssh to port forward from my netbook, but now I’m going to try and access OSX from my 8520 Crackberry. BBSSH is the app I’ll be using to connect with.

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