Edit: There's a bug report for this, doing the equivalent of this answer.

I'm trying to script the copying of public keys to multiple machines. ssh-copy-id checks whether it can log in with the current configuration before copying, but unfortunately this includes any IdentityFile entries in ~/.ssh/config. I would like to completely ignore ~/.ssh/config; is there some way to do that, or to force ssh-copy-id to always add the key? This does not work:

ssh-add "$old_key"
ssh-copy-id -i "$new_key" -o "IdentityFile $new_key" "$login"

This is similar to, but distinct from How can I make ssh ignore .ssh/config?.

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    ssh-copy-id is itself a shell script. You can try editing it. – muru Feb 11 '15 at 10:14

After checking the code of ssh-copy-id, it turns out this hack works:

SSH_OPTS='-F /dev/null' ssh-copy-id [...]

Would still be interested in a solution that only relies on documented features, though.

| improve this answer | |
  • If there is such a feature, would you not have encountered it while checking the code ;-) – Anthon Feb 11 '15 at 10:28
  • I guess you could consider my answer a hint that this should be a supported feature :) – l0b0 Feb 11 '15 at 13:06
  • File a wishlist bug? – Faheem Mitha Feb 11 '15 at 15:00
  • @FaheemMitha I'd be happy to, but I have no idea where it's maintained. There's bug reports all over the place, and no reference in the file itself. Any idea? – l0b0 Feb 11 '15 at 18:29
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    ssh-copy-id is part of OpenSSH, which is is maintained by the OpenBSD people. Looks like they use Bugzilla. See openssh.com/report.html. Some copy-id bugs have been reported recently. See bugzilla.mindrot.org/… – Faheem Mitha Feb 11 '15 at 21:00

The use of SSH_OPTS may not be future-proof (I think that the script should reset it at the beginning for security reasons: the behavior shouldn't depend on unspecified environment variables, which may have not been cleaned up in some cases). What you could do (possibly via a shell function):

env PATH="/path/to/special_dir:$PATH" ssh-copy-id [...]

where /path/to/special_dir just contains a ssh script, which can execute the real ssh with -F /dev/null. This is a bit ugly, but I don't think that there is any clean way with the current ssh-copy-id script.

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  • This relies on ssh-copy-id using PATH to resolve ssh, which may also change (Unlikely, but still). +1 for a clever hack. – l0b0 Feb 11 '15 at 13:15

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