I'm trying to build OpenSSH 7.9p1 from source, but I can't find a way to delete (or not include), for instance, ssh-agent, ssh-keygen, scp, sftp, sshd, etc. – of course, assuming none of those are required for the ssh command to work.

Ideally I would only need the client: the ssh command, but again, I'm not sure what other pieces are required. I think most of what's build/installed is used by the server, not by the client.

  • Please tell us why you need a special openssh-client: 1. Are you running or creating a linux distro? Please tell us about your operating system. 2. Are you creating some 'fool-proof' system with client computers, that can only run a few necessary programs, and one of them is ssh, but not transfer files, so you want to remove sftp and scp ? 3. Or something else? – sudodus Jan 30 at 8:03
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    I have to build it from source, it's to make a Flatpak, and the SSH client is a dependency. I don't want to shovel everything-SSH there if it's not needed. I was going the route @JeffSchaller proposed but I first wanted to know if there was another way. I can identify the location(s) where the other (potentially) unneeded files are "installed" and remove them, but like I said I would like to avoid that if there is a way to tell configure to not consider some "packages", etc. For instance, the openssh-client from Ubuntu would be perfect for me case, but I can't use a .deb file. – x80486 Jan 30 at 12:50

Yes, you can do this with the default build system provided.

If you look at the Makefile that is generated by running the provided ./configure script, you should see that the default (first) target is

TARGETS=ssh$(EXEEXT) sshd$(EXEEXT) ssh-add$(EXEEXT) ssh-keygen$(EXEEXT) ssh-keyscan${EXEEXT} ssh-keysign${EXEEXT} ssh-pkcs11-helper$(EXEEXT) ssh-agent$(EXEEXT) scp$(EXEEXT) sftp-server$(EXEEXT) sftp$(EXEEXT)

(for Unix-like systems, $(EXEEXT) should be empty). Each has its own separate build target / rule so for example you can do:

make ssh

to make only the client.


$ make ssh


$ find . -type f -executable -newermt yesterday

$ ./ssh -V
OpenSSH_7.9p1, OpenSSL 1.1.0g  2 Nov 2017
  • Great, let me try that first and I'll accept your answer. Thanks for the info! – x80486 Jan 30 at 13:40

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