NetBeans And ssh-agent

I am using SSH and DSA key for access to my company repositories. But NetBeans always failed to connect to the server because it did not find app which it could use to ask me for password. After I installed x11-ssh-askpass, the situation improved in a way that NetBeans asked me for my DSA key password each time I issued some command that communicates with the repo. As I use keychain, other way that makes the things work flawlessly is running NetBeans from terminal window, but it has one drawback – it’s pretty annoying to run NetBeans from terminal.

Finally I found a way to make it all work in (for me) ideal way. I modified NetBeans script so that it:

  • runs keychain
  • sources keychain file that exports all needed variables
  • adds keys that I want to the ssh-agent and prompts me for keys password if ssh-agent does not handle the keys yet

Here is the patch for NetBeans script:

--- /usr/share/netbeans-6.9/bin/netbeans.orig	2010-07-17 04:35:11.777217529 +0200
+++ /usr/share/netbeans-6.9/bin/netbeans	2010-07-17 05:25:38.895871679 +0200
@@ -169,6 +169,19 @@
     then
         sh=/bin/bash
     fi
+    keychain -q
+    if [ -e "$HOME/.keychain/$HOSTNAME-sh" ]; then
+        . $HOME/.keychain/$HOSTNAME-sh
+    fi
+    if [ -e $userdir/keychain-keys.txt ]; then
+        for key in `cat $userdir/keychain-keys.txt`; do
+            SSH_ASKPASS=`which x11-ssh-askpass`
+            export SSH_ASKPASS
+            if [ -n "$key" ]; then
+                keychain $key
+            fi
+	done
+    fi
     if [ "${founduserdir}" = "yes" ]; then
         exec $sh "$nbexec" "$@"
     else

So if you have password protected SSH keys, all that you need to do to make them work in NetBeans without being annoyed is:

  • install keychain and x11-ssh-askpass
  • apply the patch above to NetBeans executable script
  • if you want to be prompted for SSH key passwords on NetBeans startup, create file $userdir/keychain-keys.txt and put there name of the files with the keys

Just minor update, I added this support to Gentoo ebuild for NetBeans, so since netbeans-6.9-r3 this feature can be activated by enabling ‘keychain’ use flag.

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