What does seahorse do?

Chris G cl at isbd.net
Thu Nov 27 11:33:58 UTC 2008

On Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 12:12:55PM +0100, Mario Vukelic wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-11-27 at 10:41 +0000, Chris G wrote:
> > Can anyone here help?  Does seahorse do the same as ssh-agent?  Does
> > it do it 'automagically' when you log in to X using your login password?
> > I've found the seahorse home page http://projects.gnome.org/seahorse/index.html
> > and that tells me just about nothing.  The best there is (on the
> > 'about' page) is:-
> > 
> > With seahorse you can...
> > 
> >     * Create and manage PGP keys
> >     * Create and manage SSH keys
> >     * Publish and retrive keys from key servers
> >     * Cache your passphrase so you don't have to keep typing it
> >     * Backup your keys and keyring
> >     * more...
> There's also [1], but that says much the same. I don't know, however,
> what more it could do for you. You asked what seahorse does, and both
> pages tell you.
Well, sort of, however I don't understand how it "Cache your
passphrase so you don't have to keep typing it".  Is it doing this
completely transparently or what?  It hasn't asked me for my
passphrase, how/when do I get it to do this, I can't find this
anywhere in the help.

> [1] http://live.gnome.org/Seahorse
> > It's rather a fundamental security thing to 'just happen' behind your
> > back!
> So? There are many fundamental security things that "just happen" behind
> your back. I mean, shadow passwords don't exactly advertise their
> actions all over the place, either. And who in their right mind would
> not want such things to happen automagically?
OK, I was just a bit disconcerted by the "Enter your password" thing
just popping up and not understanding what was going on.

> It's not so much Ubuntu doing something "behind your back" (you make it
> sound it as if it was done maliciously) as it is you not being on top of
> how your OS works ;)

So kind!  :-)   It's, I suspect, because I do most things from the
command line.  I.e. I have ssh key based login set up to several
systems and, when I move to a new system, I do all the key copying
etc. on the command line.

While there are (obviously) a lot of processes that get started up by
the system (before you even log in) I like to have control over the
'extras'.  E.g. it's up to me whether I install and run sshd, if the
default installation did this I would be unhappy.  It seems to me that
seahorse lies in the same area.

Chris Green

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