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Fixing Your Servers From the Middle of Muddy Fields

Be Free, Little Sysadmin, Be Free!

  • June 12, 2009
  • By Juliet Kemp

Juliet Kemp
Modern mobile phones and PDAs have increasingly sophisticated data/internet connectivity. This is particularly great for browsing the web on the train, but it's also good for keeping an eye on your servers while you're out and about. (I once fixed my web server from the middle of a muddy field at the Glastonbury Festival, which I thought was quite good going.) Here's a quick roundup of SSH applications available for various platforms.

  • G1 Android: ConnectBot (or get from Marketplace). Includes support for SSH keys, which is useful on a mobile platform where you may need to reconnect occasionally.
  • Palm/Treo devices: pSSH. SSH2 for Palm OS 5 and up; TuSSH is another alternative if you want SSH1 or Palm OS 4. It does warn that it may not be entirely secure and shouldn't be used for security-critical applications in part because it doesn't use device-specific random number generation. It's got a neat on-screen keyboard, and it can support SSH key auth.
  • Blackberry: MidpSSH. There's a useful documentation blog. This should also work on other Java-compliant devices. It supports a predictive text option, which may be useful if you have a device that doesn't have a full keyboard. It supports public key auth, however, there is no facility for a passphrase for the key. It also has macro support to make typing long/common strings easier.
  • Symbian devices: The well-known free SSH client PuTTY is available for Symbian. It supports public key authentication but only for keys created using PuTTYGen in Windows. The download comes with excellent documentation, which is also available online.

Note: I've personally tested ConnectBot and pSSH and can confirm they do the job well; sadly, I don't own a Blackberry or Symbian device to test those myself!

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