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Keychain: getting the most out of ssh-agent

After recent XFCE upgrades I noticed that I am missing something: a keyring! The good old Gnome2 was equipped with gnome-keyring and I must admit I really got used to it.

I was looking for a good alternative – mostly to make the terminal work less painful. Of course – everything can be scripted, but it’s not always a good idea to waste time on reinventing the wheel.

A little bit of searching got me to a project called keychain which is maintained by Funtoo’s creator Daniel Robbins. It’s a simple, yet powerful frontend to ssh-agent and allows you also to manage your GPG keys. That means you do not have to enter your passphrase N-times for N-login sessions.

Installation is simple – keychain is in Ubuntu’s repositories, so a simple apt-get install keychain will do the trick. Since keychain does not require X it can be also used on headless machines and jumpservers. In these situations you can use the –clear option, which improves security on machines where probability of intrusion is much higher.

If you are looking for a well working gnome-keyring replacement – especially after you have upgraded from Gnome2 to XFCE in order to avoid Gnome3 or Unity – Keychain is the answer.

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