3 Getting started

3.1  General information

The examples in the following sections use the utility function ssh:start/0 that starts all needed applications (crypto, public_key and ssh). All examples are run in an Erlang shell, or in a bash shell using openssh to illustrate how the erlang ssh application can be used. The examples are run as the user otptest on a local network where the user is authorized to login in over ssh to the host "tarlop". If nothing else is stated it is persumed that the otptest user has an entry in tarlop's authorized_keys file (may log in via ssh without entering a password). Also tarlop is a known host in the user otptest's known_hosts file so that host verification can be done without user interaction.

3.2  Using the Erlang SSH Terminal Client

The user otptest, that has bash as default shell, uses the ssh:shell/1 client to connect to the openssh daemon running on a host called tarlop. Note that currently this client is very simple and you should not be expected to be as fancy as the openssh client.

      1>  ssh:start().
      2> {ok, S} = ssh:shell("tarlop").

3.3  Running an Erlang SSH Daemon

The option system_dir must be a directory containing a host key file and it defaults to /etc/ssh. For details see section Configuration Files in ssh(6).


Normally the /etc/ssh directory is only readable by root.

The option user_dir defaults to the users ~/.ssh directory

In the following example we generate new keys and host keys as to be able to run the example without having root privileges

      $bash> ssh-keygen -t rsa -f /tmp/ssh_daemon/ssh_host_rsa_key
      $bash> ssh-keygen -t rsa -f /tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/id_rsa

Create the file /tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/authorized_keys and add the content of /tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/id_rsa.pub Now we can do

      1> ssh:start().
      2> {ok, Sshd} = ssh:daemon(8989,  [{system_dir, "/tmp/ssh_daemon"},
      {user_dir, "/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh"}]).

Use the openssh client from a shell to connect to the Erlang ssh daemon.

      $bash> ssh tarlop -p 8989  -i /tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/id_rsa\
             -o UserKnownHostsFile=/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/known_hosts
      The authenticity of host 'tarlop' can't be established.
      RSA key fingerprint is 14:81:80:50:b1:1f:57:dd:93:a8:2d:2f:dd:90:ae:a8.
      Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
      Warning: Permanently added 'tarlop' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
      Eshell V5.10  (abort with ^G)

There are two ways of shutting down an SSH daemon

1: Stops the listener, but leaves existing connections started by the listener up and running.

      3> ssh:stop_listener(Sshd).

2: Stops the listener and all connections started by the listener.

      3> ssh:stop_daemon(Sshd)

3.4  One Time Execution

In the following example the Erlang shell is the client process that receives the channel replies.


If you run this example in your environment you may get fewer or more messages back as this depends on the OS and shell on the machine running the ssh daemon. See also ssh_connection:exec/4

      1>  ssh:start().
      2> {ok, ConnectionRef} = ssh:connect("tarlop", 22, []).
      3>{ok, ChannelId} =  ssh_connection:session_channel(ConnectionRef, infinity).
      4> success = ssh_connection:exec(ConnectionRef, ChannelId, "pwd", infinity).
      5>  flush().
      Shell got {ssh_cm,<0.57.0>,{data,0,0,<<"/home/otptest\n">>}}
      Shell got {ssh_cm,<0.57.0>,{eof,0}}
      Shell got {ssh_cm,<0.57.0>,{exit_status,0,0}}
      Shell got {ssh_cm,<0.57.0>,{closed,0}}

Note only the channel is closed the connection is still up and can handle other channels

      6> {ok, NewChannelId} =  ssh_connection:session_channel(ConnectionRef, infinity).

3.5  SFTP (SSH File Transport Protocol) server

      1> ssh:start().
      2> ssh:daemon(8989,  [{system_dir, "/tmp/ssh_daemon"},
         {user_dir, "/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh"},
         {subsystems, [ssh_sftpd:subsystem_spec([{cwd, "/tmp/sftp/example"}])]}]).

Run the openssh sftp client

      $bash> sftp -oPort=8989 -o IdentityFile=/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/id_rsa\
             -o UserKnownHostsFile=/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh/known_hosts tarlop
      Connecting to tarlop...
      sftp> pwd
      Remote working directory: /tmp/sftp/example

3.6  SFTP (SSH File Transport Protocol) client

      1> ssh:start().
      2> {ok, ChannelPid, Connection} = ssh_sftp:start_channel("tarlop", []).
      3>  ssh_sftp:read_file(ChannelPid, "/home/otptest/test.txt").
      {ok,<<"This is a test file\n">>}

3.7  Creating a subsystem

A very small SSH subsystem that echos N bytes could be implemented like this. See also ssh_channel(3)

-record(state, {
-export([init/1, handle_msg/2, handle_ssh_msg/2, terminate/2]).

init([N]) ->
    {ok, #state{n = N}}.

handle_msg({ssh_channel_up, ChannelId, ConnectionManager}, State) ->
    {ok, State#state{id = ChannelId,
		     cm = ConnectionManager}}.

handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, CM, {data, ChannelId, 0, Data}}, #state{n = N} = State) ->
    M = N - size(Data),
    case M > 0 of
	true ->
	   ssh_connection:send(CM, ChannelId, Data),
	   {ok, State#state{n = M}};
	false ->
	   <<SendData:N/binary, _/binary>> = Data,
           ssh_connection:send(CM, ChannelId, SendData),
           ssh_connection:send_eof(CM, ChannelId),
	   {stop, ChannelId, State}
handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, _ConnectionManager,
		{data, _ChannelId, 1, Data}}, State) ->
    error_logger:format(standard_error, " ~p~n", [binary_to_list(Data)]),
    {ok, State};

handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, _ConnectionManager, {eof, _ChannelId}}, State) ->
    {ok, State};

handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, _, {signal, _, _}}, State) ->
    %% Ignore signals according to RFC 4254 section 6.9.
    {ok, State};

handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, _, {exit_signal, ChannelId, _, _Error, _}},
	       State) ->
    {stop, ChannelId,  State};

handle_ssh_msg({ssh_cm, _, {exit_status, ChannelId, _Status}}, State) ->
    {stop, ChannelId, State}.

terminate(_Reason, _State) ->

And run like this on the host tarlop with the keys generated in section 3.3

   1> ssh:start().
   2>  ssh:daemon(8989, [{system_dir, "/tmp/ssh_daemon"},
   {user_dir, "/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh"}
   {subsystems, [{"echo_n", {ssh_echo_server, [10]}}]}]).
   1> ssh:start().
   2>{ok, ConnectionRef} = ssh:connect("tarlop", 8989, [{user_dir, "/tmp/otptest_user/.ssh"}]).
   3>{ok, ChannelId} = ssh_connection:session_channel(ConnectionRef, infinity).
   4> success = ssh_connection:subsystem(ConnectionRef, ChannelId, "echo_n", infinity).
   5> ok = ssh_connection:send(ConnectionRef, ChannelId, "0123456789", infinity).
   6> flush().
   {ssh_msg, <0.57.0>, {data, 0, 1, "0123456789"}}
   {ssh_msg, <0.57.0>, {eof, 0}}
   {ssh_msg, <0.57.0>, {closed, 0}}
   7> {error, closed} = ssh_connection:send(ConnectionRef, ChannelId, "10", infinity).