An Early Macintosh SSH Client

You will find pointers to a Mac client program for SSHv1 at F-secure which is the new name for “Data Fellows”. They implemented v2 first and I suspect that they hoped never to implement a v1 client. Their newer v1 is about 2.5 times the size of v2.

The installation went smoothly and seems to have the sole side effect of creating a folder with a few files among which is the executable application. SSH has several ways of authenticating the client, but I will speak of only the public key scheme.

Creating and distributing the public and private key

Upon first launching the SSH application one creates a SSH key pair which is stored in a passphrase protected binary file in the SSH application folder. To do this go to
Edit > Connection Properties ... > RSA Identity > New ...
In that dialog box they want a “comment” which their app uses to discriminate among the several key pairs that you may come to use. I will call it the “key name” here. You get to name the binary file that holds the key pair. The file seems to hold nothing but the key name and private key, from which the public key may be derived. It is scrambled with your pass phrase as well.

To use the key pair the user transports the private key to the client machine, perhaps where it was generated, and the public key to the server machine which we will assume here is a Unix host. To get the public key go to:
Edit > Connection Properties ... > RSA Identity > Select ...
and navigate to the key pair file created above. The hierarchical file name will then appear in the “RSA Identity File” field and the “Copy” button will be available, hopefully. Sometimes it is available and sometimes not. I have sent e-mail to support but not gotten a response yet.

The Copy button copies an ascii form of the public key and its name onto the Mac clipboard. There are spaces but no “new lines” there. The instructions provided by their intsallation guide don't work for me because the line is too long. I put the line in a BBEdit file and used Fetch to move the file to Unix. On the Unix server machine there must be a file $HOME/.ssh./authorized_keys which is such public key values, each terminated by a new line.

You use whatever pre SSH authority you have to introduce that file into your file space. ($HOME is your user name there.)

In the
Edit > Connection Properties ... > RSA Identity
window the OK button assigns the selected key pair as your RSA Identity and uses that implicitly for other commands. It will require your passphrase each time to unscramble the key pair from the file. The same file may be copied, bit for bit, to your .ssh Unix directory and called “identity” and this lets you use that Unix machine as an SHH client via which to access other SSH servers with the Unix “ssh” shell command.

Using the key pair

At this point there should be a file ~yourName/.ssh/authorized_keys in your Unix directory, and it should include the ascii version of your public key as produced above. There should also be the corresponding key pair file on your Mac in a place known to you.

You can save subsequent work by “saving settings” after navigating to your private key file on the Mac. Go to
File > Save Settings As ...
Other settings such as terminal preferences are saved as well.

Connecting: Having identified your private key to the Mac SSH application, you must select or create (with File > New Window) an unconnected SSH window and then use [File > Connect ...] to make a new connection. If the option to select RSA is greyed out it is probably because you have not identified your private key to the Mac SSH app. The client behaves poorly if you try to connect before there is IP service. The Mac SSH client can connect several windows at once to the same or different hosts.

X windows

Check the “Forward X11” box in [Edit > Connection Properties ... > Connection > Options]. In this order: Make an IP connection, launch MacX, and do the connect thing in the SSH application. Now it should be possible to issue a shell command, thru the connected window, such as “xterm &”.