openssh-server should broadcast availability via avahi

Bug #387091 reported by Mario Limonciello on 2009-06-14
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
openssh (Debian)
openssh (Fedora)
Won't Fix
openssh (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Avahi has support to advertise to a network different running services. Currently openssh doesn't advertise itself dynamically or statically when installed.

It can be done statically by copying the example file from /usr/share/doc/avahi-daemon/examples to /etc/avahi/services or by using the avahi-publish command. avahi-publish could be ran from the SSH init script, or this service file can be installed by the openssh-server package.

This can be done dynamically by patching openssh, but there would have to be a buy in from upstream to do this.

Avahi should set the TXT record for the SSH service it exports to include the public key of the SSH server (in a manner compatible with MacOS X, which does the same thing).

Uh. This is not the appropriate place to report this.

To do this properly we should patch OpenSSH to do the Avahi registration itself. But I fear the OpenSSH would not be willing to merge such a patch. Right now we do mDNS/DNS-SD publishing of the SSH service by dropping a static service definition file in /etc/avahi. It's just an xml file. Including the SSH server key in that file automatically is not really possible.

I am reassigning this now to ssh, let's see what the ssh maintainers have to say about this.

I don't know much about the potential avahi registration code, that means what dependencies it would bring to openssh and so on.

But I am really afraid this code would not be accepted upstream especially if some of the dependencies would be GPL licensed.

It would pull in libavahi-client which is LGPL. la-c pulls in D-Bus. Which is GPL & Academic.

Also, that dependency would be completely optional.

I'd expect a refusal however due to more fundamental issues. i.e. mDNS/DNS-SD is this unreliable, untrusted protocol that is used to spam the local network about the existance of a service. Security people tend to stay away from technology like that and normally don't see the usefulness of this.

Yes, i know, I am not selling this very well right now.... Let's hope I am mistaken.

This package has changed ownership in the Fedora Package Database. Reassigning to the new owner of this component.

This bug appears to have been reported against 'rawhide' during the Fedora 11 development cycle.
Changing version to '11'.

More information and reason for this action is here:

Changed in openssh (Debian):
status: Unknown → New
Thierry Carrez (ttx) on 2009-07-28
Changed in openssh (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: New → Confirmed

This bug already has been fixed by static avahi registration.

Not sure what you mean by that, but key certainly isn't exported using openssh-5.2p1-28.fc12.x86_64:
$ avahi-browse -ar
= eth0 IPv4 cookie SSH Remote Terminal local
   hostname = [cookie.local]
   address = []
   port = [22]
   txt = []

Changed in openssh (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged

It is exactly the same as MacOS exported.

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This may or may not be a part of the avahi code, but it can't be done in openssh. There are no means to provide it.

Fedora 11 changed to end-of-life (EOL) status on 2010-06-25. Fedora 11 is
no longer maintained, which means that it will not receive any further
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Thank you for reporting this bug and we are sorry it could not be fixed.

Bruno (brunonova) wrote :

It would be really nice if openssh-server would publish via Avahi the SSH and SFTP services by default.
Examples of both services are provided in /usr/share/doc/avahi-daemon/examples/.

Publishing the SFTP service would be great because Nautilus (and other file managers, I suppose) lists, in it's Network "folder", all computers that are publishing that service, allowing to easily connect to those computers via SFTP and transfer files, much like Samba (no guest access, though).

Changed in openssh (Fedora):
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Won't Fix
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