making the passphrase prompt more clear

Nico Kadel-Garcia nkadel at
Wed Sep 3 21:05:28 EST 2014

On Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 6:52 PM, Aidan Feldman <aidan.feldman at> wrote:
> I am going to preface this email by saying that I know very little
> about OpenSSH internals, the protocol, etc.
> I do a lot of work with novice programmers, and one step that comes up
> relatively early is generating SSH keys.  In case you haven't done it
> in a while, the output looks like this:
> $ ssh-keygen -t rsa
> Generating public/private rsa key pair.
> Enter file in which to save the key (/Users/aidan/.ssh/id_rsa):
> Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
> When that last step comes up, I am regularly asked, "Does it mean the
> system password, or a new one?"  A slight tweak of the language could
> easily eliminate that confusion... something like "Enter passphrase
> for the new key" or "Enter new passphrase".
> I would happily submit the patch myself if it wouldn't take a few
> hours for me to figure out how to do so :-)  Thanks!

What a *sensible* person! Kudos to you for catching just the sort of
thing that irritates or confuses people, especially new users.

I'd suggest "Enter passphrase for key (empty for no passphrase)"

More information about the openssh-unix-dev mailing list