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Re: Remote admin of intermittently-connected machine?

Perhaps replying to my own post may not be the best of ideas, but here

On Wed, May 29, 2002 at 07:07:05PM +0100, Karl E. Jorgensen wrote:
> Since I set up a Debian/GNU Linux box for a couple of friends, I find
> myself having to administer it remotely. Which is OK, as I did install
> ssh on it.
> But the box is only connected to the internet via a pay-as-you-go
> dial-up connection. And: I only want them to be connected to the
> internet when *they* like it (it's their phonebill after all). Which
> probably doesn't always coincide with when I want to log in and do
> things.
> So, this weird scheme occured to me: It is possible to do *some* of the
> admin via email? (not TCP/IP over SMTP/POP3...)  I'm thinking something
> along the lines of being able to email commands to the box (GNUPG signed
> and encrypted of course), and have it email me back the output (again,
> signed & encrypted). Similar to at(1), but remotely and via email.
> This won't work for interactive commands, but *should* work for the
> basics (i.e. "apt-get --download-only --yes install so-and-so" etc.)
> Writing something like the above is fraught with caveats and security
> holes, so I'd rather not write the lot from scratch. 
> Has anybody else been in the same situation? What was your solution?
> Ideas and comments are welcome!

A few ideas were floated (thanks everybody!) as a result of my post, but
none of the felt like a perfect fit to my situation. 

In other words: I still had an itch to scratch.

So I wrote smash (Secure Mail Shell); a gpg-based remote execution tool.
Not yet in beta-stage, but seems to work OK as of yet. *.deb and source
available at:


It could certainly do with a few more eyes on it, as I'm sure there must
be security holes (and unknown bugs, features, you-name-it) lurking in

I'd appreciate any feedback/comments you may have (privately; as it
would probably be off-topic for this list).

Karl E. Jørgensen
==== Today's fortune:
All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
		-- Ernest Rutherford

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