I have recently switched from Ubuntu to kubuntu, both version 10.10. Unfortunately in KDE the ssh passphrase dialog doesn't work out of the box. Everytime my ssh private key is used I need to enter my password. This is neither secure nor comfortable.

I have done comprehensive research on the net but only found out dated documentation. Several things I tried didn't work out. Current status:

  • SSH setup working with direct passphrase input
  • ssh-agent running in X session
  • $SSH_AUTH_SOCK set to ssh-agent's socket in X session

How to enable ssh-agent for keeping the passphrase in memory for ~15mins and as a bonus always use a graphical dialog for its input?

I use asymmetric SSH key pairs for

  • pushing/pulling in Git VCS
  • logging remotely into different server systems

1 Answer 1


Even if ssh-agent is running, it's not used until you add some keys to it - as in ssh-add.

As for graphical passphrase inputs, those are not part of ssh-agent nor ssh-add. In GNOME, they're displayed by an entirely different program, GNOME Keyring Daemon (which also acts as a ssh-agent replacement). I'm not aware of a KDE analogue.

There is a way to get graphical input with ssh-add, by pointing the SSH_ASKPASS environment variable to an apropriate "askpass" program, then running ssh-add < /dev/null.

I personally use the pinentry program from GnuPG (has both KDE and GNOME frontends, but must be used through a wrapper script). There seems to be a ksshaskpass package available for Ubuntu, too.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.