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I have been using the following command to connect to a server, which connects to another server and runs tail -f on it:

ssh ssh tail -f file.log

This so far works fine. However, when I want to quit the tail process by pressing ctrl+c, I do not quit the tail process, but the ssh process. This leaves the tail process on the remote server running, which obviosly is not a very good idea.

Does any one have an idea how I could fix this command line? I also would be interested if there is tool, running on os x, that would allow to comfortably switch between viewing different files on the remote server.

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migrated from Nov 30 '11 at 14:08

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Couldn't you use tmux or screen on the remote servers? That's what I've always done. – Rob Nov 30 '11 at 14:10
See this Q&A : To get it working in command line or in the shell, the ssh agent shall be forwarded too, eg using the ssh option "A" (see ssh man page), like : ssh -A user_foo@serverB "my_cmd" – hornetbzz Nov 30 '11 at 16:25
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you have netcat installed on (you probably do), you may want to use the ssh directive ProxyCommand to seamlessly hop across; thus, when you press Ctrl+C, it will only terminate the command on, not your SSH session.

Example of your ~/.ssh/config (create the file if it doesn't exist; append to end if it does):

  User piskvor
  ProxyCommand ssh -q nc -q0 22

What happens here:

  • ssh connects to
  • it remotely connects from there to (using nc)
  • which ferries the data through

This is completely transparent to your ssh client, so you can work with as if you were connected directly (e.g. SFTP, X forwarding, TCP forwarding, etc.)

For a more detailed explanation (as well as extending this to multiple hops), see this article, or this similar question on SU.

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Thanks. After some more configuration this gives me a nice shortcut to ssh to server2: "ssh"... However, if I use "ssh tail -f file.log" I end up having the same problem. Ctrl+c kill the ssh connection, and leaves the tail process running. I want to run this command in a script, which opens multiple windows etc... so, I can not just ssh to server2 and manually type in the tail command. – Steve Hummingbird Nov 30 '11 at 14:46
Accepting your answer, as I never found myself wanting to script tail commands on remote servers, as connecting got much easier using your suggested configuration... I guess there is no more need to find an answer for my initial question – Steve Hummingbird Mar 12 '12 at 19:05

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