OpenSSH and Idle Timeouts

Eli K. Breen bsd at
Wed Apr 19 04:54:38 EST 2006

Theo et al.,

I've looked back through the OpenSSH mailing lists and am stumped as to 
why there is no IdleTimeout option for OpenSSH. (Normally the omission 
of a feature as useful as this generates much debate and flame-quashing 
from the dev. team).

Is there some background to this that I'm missing?

Here's the scenario, and I'm fully open to any workarounds.

We use a combination of OpenBSD(3.7) and FreeBSD(5.x/6.0) machines as 
various SSH access points to our network. Developers and users, being 
only human, often end up leaving idle connections open for 
days/weeks/months at a time. This is both unsightly (from the admin 
perspective) and generally makes auditing and user activity 
tracking/tracing much more difficult. In short, I'm looking for a way to 
expire idle connections across both of these platforms while sticking 
with OpenSSH because of its excellent security history and close ties to 
the *BSDs.

Are there any plans to add idle timeouts to OpenSSH in future? Does 
anyone have any proven methods and/or patches for working around this 

Many thanks,


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