Xfce and SSH and life is good again

I gave up on gnome3. I couldn’t make the gnome3 work for me and I did not want to use something that was not supported. I could use a fork of gnome2 but way back in the day when I first met gnome3 and ran away screaming I also found the Xfce desktop and window manager. It’s exactly what I want. It’s simple, lightweight, clear, functional and so far, looks like it is actively being developed and supported. I just need the following. This is just a basic list off the top of my head. I’m sure I need more but you get the idea. Basically, most of us just a need a plain window manager, something to hold the Web browser.

Basic stuff:

  • stability
  • something to hold the windows.
  • A clear way to change the settings. I don’t make a lot of changes so I don’t need a lot here.
  • multiple desktops
  • fast
  • good support for monitors
  • good support for applications.

Ought to haves:

  • 3d and video card support – I think it has this but I don’t use it much.

Nice to haves

  • The ability to put a different wall paper on different desktops.
  • I did like the cabinet functionality on the panels of gnome2. But I can and do live without that.

I tried to update my fedora 17 to fedora 18. that did not work because the raid 1 device that I set my root device and boot device on posed a problem. I was able to recover and so I waited and tried fedora 19. Same problem, only I could not recover as easily. Which brings me back to gnome2. To get fedora19 installed I decided to break the RAID mirror and just do a clean install. I would use the other device in the mirror as a backup and restore from it what I could and what I needed. The fedora19 install gave me a choice of installing gnome or xfce. I could not install both at the same time. I chose Xfce. I have already been using it for however long it’s been since gnome3 came out. And I am perfectly happy with it. It kind of looks like a Mac. The mac has more interface tricks, but then again, they are just tricks and nothing that seems to be of an overriding advantage. In fact I like the window manager on Xfce/Gnome much better.

Which brings us to SSH. In the old gnome/xfce hybrid that I used every time I logged into the desktop I would get prompted for my SSH pass-phrase. That’s good because it means I would not be prompted for passwords to other machines that were aware of my SSH keys. But in Xfce It was not working. And a quick google search turned up no satisfaction. So here is how to fix this. It’s easy.

Setting up the XFCE ssh GUI passphrase prompt

First check out the documentation for “SSH and GPG Agents” at this link.
I ran the following commands:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-session -p /startup/ssh-agent/enabled -n -t bool -s false
xfconf-query -c xfce4-session -p /startup/ssh-agent/type -n -t string -s ssh-agent

In the Xfce menu go to
applications -> setttings -> settings Manager
click on session and startup

under application autostart
deselect “SSH Agent (GNOME Keyring: SSH agent) Unless you need this. I don’t need it right now so I disabled it.
click the add button
a dialogue will pop up like this:

xfce_edit_application Fill it out with the appropriate information as I did. If you don’t have an id_rsa key file you may have to place the name of your key file on the same line as ssh-add in the command field. I’ll let you play with that.

Log out of xfce and log back in. You will then get a nice dialogue prompting you for your pass-phrase.

Leave a Comment