Simplifying SSH

How It Works

Once installed, start EasySSH. The main window has a lot of empty space, which is only interrupted by the name of the program and the Add Connection button in the middle. Clicking on the hamburger menu at top right opens a frugal Preferences dialog, which is divided into General and Appearance tabs (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Clicking on the EasySSH hamburger menu lets you access a dialog to configure the application.

Under General, you can define the storage location of the host configuration. By default, this is /var/lib/flatpak, with the configuration folder itself (as for all Flatpaks) residing in the user's home directory under ~/.var/app.

Initially, you do not need to change anything here. It is also possible to synchronize the SSH configuration under /var/lib/flatpak/apps/. In the Appearance tab, you can set a dark theme as default, the color of the terminal background, and the terminal font.

New Connection

To set up a new connection, just click on the corresponding button or the plus sign in the upper left-hand corner. A dialog will then appear prompting you for the information required to establish an SSH connection. You are free to choose your name and group. Organizing this in groups improves the overview if you use several accounts on one server. The host, port, user, and password details are then queried (Figure 4).

Figure 4: A new connection is quickly created. EasySSH stores all necessary access data and reduces the connection overhead to a single mouse click.

A more secure way to connect to servers via SSH is to replace the password with an asynchronous cryptographic key pair, commonly known as an SSH key. The public key is on the server, while the private key remains on the local computer from which you connect.

Alternatively, EasySSH supports the following method: Select the Change Password to Identity File checkbox (Figure 5) in the Edit Connection dialog. Navigate to the public key with the .pub extension, which is located in ~/.ssh by default (see the "Tip" box), and select it.

Tip

Most file managers do not display hidden files by default. However, with Ctrl+H or the context menu, you can usually switch to displaying all the files in the directory.

Figure 5: Clicking the checkbox lets you use an SSH key, which is more secure than a password.

If you do not yet have a key pair or want to create a new pair for EasySSH, then run

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

in the terminal. (See instructions online (e.g., [5]) for more information on creating SSH keys).

Multiple Connections

After saving the data, a bar appears on the right, listing all the connections you entered (sorted by group and name). A click on an entry lets you delete, edit, and open a connection. If the login information is correct, a terminal opens that, if a password is used, establishes the connection in a tab without further prompting (Figure 6).

Figure 6: EasySSH opens the SSH connection with a single mouse click. Keep in mind, the password currently appears in plaintext.

If you entered an SSH key in the settings, the software prompts you for the matching password in the terminal (if you protected the key). A click on the plus sign in front of the tab opens a second connection to the same server.

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