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Making life easy over flaky links

Making life easy over flaky links

I tend to work over VPN, which we know can be flaky at times, Since I work on server, I spend a lot of time ssh’ed into hosts. I was getting tired of the lost time having to restart what I was working on every time the VPN dropped (which could be as much as every 15 minutes on a bad day). While I already used screen to handle the lack of terminals (Alas, I am forced to use a Windows laptop to VPN in with), I thought there could be an easier way to do this.

The way I tend to work is that I ssh into a jump server, fire up screen, then ssh into the hosts I need to work on, and fire up screen on those hosts.

Now, this is nice, but it can get a bit tiring to do it all over again. So, I found a tool called autossh which will automatically restart your ssh session if it drops for any reason but a graceful disconnect. (Well, there are others, but this is basically it). Combine this with your ssh-agent, and you can re-attach with easy. I also use keychain to help manage my ssh-agent when I log in.

Now that the connection will come back, I need a way to re-attach to my screen session, or if there is not one, to start one for me. To do
that, I have this is my .bashrc file:

test -x $STY && screen -xR

This will check to make sure that we are not already inside a screen session on the local host (test -x $STY), and if we are not, then either attach to an existing screen session or start a new one (screen -xR)

I have define this function in my .bashrc to spawn a new ssh connection in a separate screen window:

function ss ()
{
  screen -t $1 ssh $*
}

Easy stuff