A screen/shell server is awesome!

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5 Responses

  1. Eddie says:

    Jon, thanks for clarifying a suggestion on best practice for using SSH keys with tablets accessing SSH servers! This is the type of conversation we need for the world we’re trending into (highly mobile tablet-ish devices + the need to run multiple SSH sessions into various machines be they physical or virtual)!



  2. Eddie says:

    Hi Jon,

    I just discovered this post, its really great! I’m looking to use a tablet (would prefer an iPad but am agnostic and would consider an Android Honeycomb) and set up GNU Screen on an always-on desktop machine so that when I’m out and about I can just bring a tablet with me (I was not aware of GNU Screen and how capable it is with regard to this type of functionality — very well suited for the world we are in now and trending toward with more and more virtual machines and “cloud” stuff). That being said, you also raised a very good point about never carrying SSH keys with you no a tablet (what if your Xoom were stolen or somehow compromised). So then this begs the question, how do you securely get into your your always-running laptop at work from your Xoom (to avail of GNU Screen on your work laptop) from your Xoom?



    • Jon says:

      Ok. For for the app:

      Android (as mentioned above) I’ve used Better Terminal Emulator Pro: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.magicandroidapps.bettertermpro&feature=search_result

      On the iPad I’ve used iSSH: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/issh-ssh-vnc-console/id287765826?mt=8

      Personally I like BTEP on the android a little better simply because I like the way android handles things (hardware key to get ctrl, for example), but iSSH on the iPad is really nice with the transparent keyboard option. Either way you go, there are good options.

      As for security. My suggestion would be this: Create an SSH key for your tablet alone, and use it only to connect to your “screen server”. Set a password on that SSH key, though it doesn’t need to be terribly complicated. You’ll need to verify that said key works with your tablet software (Both support SSH keys, but I dont remember testing them with passwords specifically). If you loose your tablet, the password should keep them out for a little while (They’d probably transfer it off device to be cracked). That should buy you time to connect from another device and scram that key on your server – safe!

  3. fred says:

    screen -x will also be your best friend. Essentially, think of it as “sharing” instead of stealing.
    Also, another great use of screen is for connecting serial ports to networking gear (yes, you can give ttyS0 to screen and connect directly to the com port…)
    Also, screen + irssi is an awesome combo, and if you are still using ubuntu, check out byobu which is sort of a fork from screen.

    A bon entendeur,

  1. 2011-09-13

    […] pmAt my previous company I set myself up a screen server as mentioned in my previous post, “A screen/shell server is awesome!“. There were only a half dozen servers there so if the screen server got rebooted, it […]

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