ssh-keygen between SuSE and FreeBSD

Marian Hettwer mh at
Thu Aug 14 16:43:31 UTC 2008

Hi Gavin,

On Thu, 14 Aug 2008 08:30:47 -0700, Gavin Spomer <spomerg at cwu.EDU> wrote:
> Uh, not sure. Head spinning now. ;)
> 1. I have a Mac, SuSE server and a FreeBSD server.
> 2. I can ssh from my Mac to SuSE server without having to type in my
> password.
> 3. I can ssh from my Mac to FreeBSD server without having to type in my
> password.
> 4. I can do #2 and #3 above because I ran "ssh-keygen -t rsa" on my Mac
> and copied the to my ~/.ssh/authorized_keys files on the SuSE
> and FreeBSD servers.
> 5. I ran the same "ssh-keygen -t rsa" on the SuSE server and copied the
> to the FreeBSD.
> 6. I canNOT ssh from the SuSE server to the FreeBSD server withOUT typing
> in my password.
> 7. When I ssh from SuSE server to FreeBSD server, I get prompted:
>       Enter passphrase for key '/home/myusername/.ssh/id_rsa':
>From your Suse, try to run the ssh commando with "-v" or even -vv or -vvv
to get debugging output.
If you can't figure out what the debugging output wants to tell you, send
it to the list.
But complete, copy 'n' paste please :)

I'm not quite sure right now why you're using rsa keys. I'm always using
dsa keys (ssh-keygen -t dsa). It comes to my mind, that rsa keys are for
ssh version 1, while dsa keys are for ssh version 2.
But I could be wrong here ;)
No man ssh handy right now, sorry.

> 8. I want to be able to ssh from SuSE server to FreeBSD server because I
> want to run scp via a cron job.
> I noticed you made a distinction between password and passphrase. Could
> you please explain the difference?
Well, when you generate a rsa or dsa key, you get asked to enter a
passphrase for that key.
So a passphrase is basically the password to your ssh key.
While the password is the real password of the local user you're trying to
be. Like ssh foo at bar, the password would be the password of the user foo at
host bar.
And since everybody likes to know wether someone is talking about the
"password" of a ssh key or the password of a local user, you say passphrase
to keys and password to local users.
That's how I would explain it :))


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