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+.\" $OpenBSD: ssh-agent.1,v 1.7 1999/10/28 08:43:10 markus Exp $
+.\" -*- nroff -*-
+.\" ssh-agent.1
+.\" Author: Tatu Ylonen <>
+.\" Copyright (c) 1995 Tatu Ylonen <>, Espoo, Finland
+.\" All rights reserved
+.\" Created: Sat Apr 23 20:10:43 1995 ylo
+.Dd September 25, 1999
+.Nm ssh-agent
+.Nd authentication agent
+.Nm ssh-agent
+.Op Fl c Li | Fl s
+.Op Fl k
+.Ar command
+.Op Ar args ...
+is a program to hold authentication private keys. The
+idea is that
+is started in the beginning of an X-session or a login session, and
+all other windows or programs are started as clients to the ssh-agent
+program. Through use of environment variables the agent can be located
+and automatically used for RSA authentication when logging in to other
+machines using
+.Xr ssh 1 .
+The options are as follows:
+.Bl -tag -width Ds
+.It Fl c
+Generate C-shell commands on
+.Dv stdout .
+This is the default if
+looks like it's a csh style of shell.
+.It Fl s
+Generate Bourne shell commands on
+.Dv stdout .
+This is the default if
+does not look like it's a csh style of shell.
+.It Fl k
+Kill the current agent (given by the
+environment variable).
+If a commandline is given, this is executed as a subprocess of the agent.
+When the command dies, so does the agent.
+The agent initially does not have any private keys. Keys are added
+.Xr ssh-add 1 .
+When executed without arguments,
+.Xr ssh-add 1
+adds the
+.Pa $HOME/.ssh/identity
+file. If the identity has a passphrase,
+.Xr ssh-add 1
+asks for the passphrase (using a small X11 application if running
+under X11, or from the terminal if running without X). It then sends
+the identity to the agent. Several identities can be stored in the
+agent; the agent can automatically use any of these identities.
+.Ic ssh-add -l
+displays the identities currently held by the agent.
+The idea is that the agent is run in the user's local PC, laptop, or
+terminal. Authentication data need not be stored on any other
+machine, and authentication passphrases never go over the network.
+However, the connection to the agent is forwarded over SSH
+remote logins, and the user can thus use the privileges given by the
+identities anywhere in the network in a secure way.
+There are two main ways to get an agent setup: Either you let the agent
+start a new subcommand into which some environment variables are exported, or
+you let the agent print the needed shell commands (either
+.Xr sh 1
+.Xr csh 1
+syntax can be generated) which can be evalled in the calling shell.
+.Xr ssh 1
+look at these variables and use them to establish a connection to the agent.
+A unix-domain socket is created
+.Pq Pa /tmp/ssh-XXXXXXXX/agent.<pid> ,
+and the name of this socket is stored in the
+variable. The socket is made accessible only to the current user.
+This method is easily abused by root or another instance of the same
+environment variable holds the agent's PID.
+The agent exits automatically when the command given on the command
+line terminates.
+.Bl -tag -width Ds
+.It Pa $HOME/.ssh/identity
+Contains the RSA authentication identity of the user. This file
+should not be readable by anyone but the user. It is possible to
+specify a passphrase when generating the key; that passphrase will be
+used to encrypt the private part of this file. This file
+is not used by
+but is normally added to the agent using
+.Xr ssh-add 1
+at login time.
+.It Pa /tmp/ssh-XXXX/agent.<pid> ,
+Unix-domain sockets used to contain the connection to the
+authentication agent. These sockets should only be readable by the
+owner. The sockets should get automatically removed when the agent
+Tatu Ylonen <>
+is a derivative of the original (free) ssh 1.2.12 release, but with bugs
+removed and newer features re-added. Rapidly after the 1.2.12 release,
+newer versions bore successively more restrictive licenses. This version
+of OpenSSH
+.Bl -bullet
+has all components of a restrictive nature (ie. patents, see
+.Xr ssl 8 )
+directly removed from the source code; any licensed or patented components
+are chosen from
+external libraries.
+has been updated to support ssh protocol 1.5.
+contains added support for
+.Xr kerberos 8
+authentication and ticket passing.
+supports one-time password authentication with
+.Xr skey 1 .
+The libraries described in
+.Xr ssl 8
+are required for proper operation.
+.Xr ssh 1 ,
+.Xr ssh-add 1 ,
+.Xr ssh-keygen 1 ,
+.Xr sshd 8 ,
+.Xr ssl 8