Question about documentation for ConnectTimeout

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at
Wed Jan 7 13:03:27 EST 2009

On 01/06/2009 08:25 PM, Garrett Cooper wrote:
>     This was a really minor knit, but I noted while I was developing a
> pexpect module for ssh that setting ConnectTimeout to 0 in the options
> to ssh sets the login timeout to infinite time.
>     I was wondering whether or not this was a documentation bug and/or
> potential clarification that could to be made, or if this was a
> software bug that needs to be fixed. I don't see much point behind
> infinite connect time, but then again, I'm just one end-user in a sea
> of many users.

I think the logic behind this choice is that while some people may
reasonably want to never time out a connection, there is no one who
would reasonably want to *always* have their connection time out (what
"ConnectTimeout 0" would ordinarily imply).

So since 0 is an effectively unused value for ConnectTimeout, it makes
more sense to let people who want really long timeouts use have a clear
way to specify it rather than expecting them to invent a fictitiously
long (but arbitrary and unwanted) value, like "ConnectTimeout 99999".

Another way to achieve the same thing would be to allow a special string
(e.g. "ConnectTimeout never"), but it's easier for the config file
parser to always expect a number, rather than having to deal with
special cases.

This all seems reasonable to me, anyway.  I wasn't involved in the


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