Introduction to OpenSSH

The OpenSSH package contains ssh clients and the sshd daemon. This is useful for encrypting authentication and subsequent traffic over a network. The ssh and scp commands are secure implementations of telnet and rcp respectively.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS 12.1 platform.

Package Information

OpenSSH Dependencies


GDB-14.1 (for tests), Linux-PAM-1.6.0 (PAM configuration files from Shadow-4.14.5 are used to create openssh ones), Xorg Applications (or Xorg build environment, see Command Explanations), MIT Kerberos V5-1.21.2, Which-2.21 (for tests), libedit, LibreSSL Portable, OpenSC, and libsectok

Optional Runtime (Used only to gather entropy)

Net-tools-2.10, and Sysstat-12.7.5

Installation of OpenSSH

OpenSSH runs as two processes when connecting to other computers. The first process is a privileged process and controls the issuance of privileges as necessary. The second process communicates with the network. Additional installation steps are necessary to set up the proper environment, which are performed by issuing the following commands as the root user:

install -v -g sys -m700 -d /var/lib/sshd &&

groupadd -g 50 sshd        &&
useradd  -c 'sshd PrivSep' \
         -d /var/lib/sshd  \
         -g sshd           \
         -s /bin/false     \
         -u 50 sshd

Install OpenSSH by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr                            \
            --sysconfdir=/etc/ssh                    \
            --with-privsep-path=/var/lib/sshd        \
            --with-default-path=/usr/bin             \
            --with-superuser-path=/usr/sbin:/usr/bin \
            --with-pid-dir=/run                      &&

To test the results, issue: make -j1 tests.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
install -v -m755    contrib/ssh-copy-id /usr/bin     &&

install -v -m644    contrib/ssh-copy-id.1 \
                    /usr/share/man/man1              &&
install -v -m755 -d /usr/share/doc/openssh-9.6p1     &&

Command Explanations

--sysconfdir=/etc/ssh: This prevents the configuration files from being installed in /usr/etc.

--with-default-path=/usr/bin and --with-superuser-path=/usr/sbin:/usr/bin: These set PATH consistent with LFS and BLFS Shadow package.

--with-pid-dir=/run: This prevents OpenSSH from referring to deprecated /var/run.

--with-pam: This parameter enables Linux-PAM support in the build.

--with-xauth=$XORG_PREFIX/bin/xauth: Set the default location for the xauth binary for X authentication. The environment variable XORG_PREFIX should be set following Xorg build environment. This can also be controlled from sshd_config with the XAuthLocation keyword. You can omit this switch if Xorg is already installed.

--with-kerberos5=/usr: This option is used to include Kerberos 5 support in the build.

--with-libedit: This option enables line editing and history features for sftp.

Configuring OpenSSH

Config Files

~/.ssh/*, /etc/ssh/ssh_config, and /etc/ssh/sshd_config

There are no required changes to any of these files. However, you may wish to view the /etc/ssh/ files and make any changes appropriate for the security of your system. One recommended change is that you disable root login via ssh. Execute the following command as the root user to disable root login via ssh:

echo "PermitRootLogin no" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config

If you want to be able to log in without typing in your password, first create ~/.ssh/id_rsa and ~/.ssh/ with ssh-keygen and then copy ~/.ssh/ to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on the remote computer that you want to log into. You'll need to change REMOTE_USERNAME and REMOTE_HOSTNAME for the username and hostname of the remote computer and you'll also need to enter your password for the ssh-copy-id command to succeed:

ssh-keygen &&

Once you've got passwordless logins working it's actually more secure than logging in with a password (as the private key is much longer than most people's passwords). If you would like to now disable password logins, as the root user:

echo "PasswordAuthentication no" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config &&
echo "KbdInteractiveAuthentication no" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config

If you added Linux-PAM support and you want ssh to use it then you will need to add a configuration file for sshd and enable use of LinuxPAM. Note, ssh only uses PAM to check passwords, if you've disabled password logins these commands are not needed. If you want to use PAM, issue the following commands as the root user:

sed 's@d/login@d/sshd@g' /etc/pam.d/login > /etc/pam.d/sshd &&
chmod 644 /etc/pam.d/sshd &&
echo "UsePAM yes" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Additional configuration information can be found in the man pages for sshd, ssh and ssh-agent.

Boot Script

To start the SSH server at system boot, install the /etc/rc.d/init.d/sshd init script included in the blfs-bootscripts-20240209 package.

make install-sshd


Installed Programs: scp, sftp, ssh, ssh-add, ssh-agent, ssh-copy-id, ssh-keygen, ssh-keyscan, and sshd
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /etc/ssh, /usr/share/doc/openssh-9.6p1, and /var/lib/sshd

Short Descriptions


is a file copy program that acts like rcp except it uses an encrypted protocol


is an FTP-like program that works over the SSH1 and SSH2 protocols


is an rlogin/rsh-like client program except it uses an encrypted protocol


is a daemon that listens for ssh login requests


is a tool which adds keys to the ssh-agent


is an authentication agent that can store private keys


is a script that enables logins on remote machines using local keys


is a key generation tool


is a utility for gathering public host keys from a number of hosts