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Last update: 2019-05-12
If you use cwm(1) as your window manager you probably also use its feature menu-ssh. The maintainer of cwm(1) wants to get rid of this feature because it actually doesn’t belong into a window manager. In this article I show you a simple way to replace menu-ssh by dmenu.
The feature menu-ssh of cwm(1) reads all the host names in your
~/.ssh/known_hosts file and presents you a small prompt asking you to
enter the name of the host you want to connect to using
ssh(1). If you enter a host name or
select one from the list cwm(1) will start the default terminal emulator
and let it execute ssh(1) with the chosen host name as parameter.
This is a handy feature, but it does not belong into the window manager.
The ports collection contains several alternative menu applications.
Combined with a shell script they can provide you with a similar
feature. In this article I show my personal solution, using a small
shell script and dmenu from
The application dmenu is in ports, so you can simply install it with this command:
$ doas pkg_add -i dmenu
dmenu reads the entries it should present from
stdin and prints the
chosen one to
stdout. That makes it perfect to wrap it into a small
shell script which uses base tools to read the host names from
~/.ssh/known_hosts. My script looks like this:
#!/bin/ksh expr="s/^@[a-z-]* //;s/^\[//;s/, ].*$//" file=~/.ssh/known_hosts host=$(cat $file | sed "$expr" | sort -u | dmenu) [[ -n "$host" ]] && xterm -T "[ssh] $host" -e ssh $host
The script reads every line and removes everything after the first comma in detects. It also removes the opening and closing square brackets ssh(1) places around a host name if uses a different port for connection.
Replacing the built-in menu-ssh in cwm(1) by this solution is as easy as
redefining the key binding for Alt-. in
bind-key M-period bin/sshmenu.sh
You can now restart cwm(1) by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Shift-R so your new configuration becomes active.
I’ve written a patch that removes menu-ssh completely from cwm(1):
Apply the patch and recompile cwm(1):
$ cd /usr/xenocara $ patch < /home/user/cwm_ssh_rem.diff $ cd app/cwm $ make $ doas make install $ make clean
This requires you to have checked out the xenocara tree and made sure you can use it as a normal user. If you don’t know what this is about you read it here: Building OpenBSD from Source