ssh-agent and rdist

Stephen Walton stephen.walton at
Sat Oct 18 09:05:32 EST 2003

On Fri, 2003-10-17 at 15:51, Jim Knoble wrote:
> Circa 2003-10-17 15:24:17 -0700 dixit Stephen Walton:
> : On either machine, I can use ssh-agent with no problems. In particular,
> : if I run 'rdist -P /usr/bin/ssh -c testdir myname at B' on A, no passphrase
> : is requested.  But the similar command issued on B to try to connect to
> : rdistd on A always asks for a passphrase.
> : 
> : ssh_config and sshd_config are identical on A and B.
> Try running an sshd with debugging (-d) on A, then connecting to
> it with ssh -v on B.  If nothing helpful appears, you might try
> increasing the diagnostic level (-ddd and -vvv respectively).

I haven't done the debugging yet, but I seem to have found the actual
problem.  Examining /etc/X11/xdm/Xsession on RedHat shows that if
/usr/bin/ssh-agent is executable, it is started along with the X desktop
by default.  So, if I execute an ssh-agent in an xterm window, it
becomes the second one.  Knowing ssh-agent is already running, if I just
use ssh-add the problem described above goes away.

I suppose this kind of inconsistency is the result of inadvertently
running 'nested' ssh-agent sessions.  If this shouldn't happen, then I'd
be happy to generate and share the debugging output.

Stephen Walton <stephen.walton at>
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Cal State Northridge

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