Passwordless SSH with encrypted homedir in Ubuntu

Quite recently I came across a very interesting issue: while configuring passwordless SSH (it's public key based, so depending on you have it configured it may not be completely passwordless) access to some of my VPS servers, I found that the same keypair just wouldn't work on one of the servers.

Not only that, but the behaviour was quite bizzare: upon my first attempt to connect the public key would get rejected and a regular password would be requested by the ssh session. But once I successfully logged in with my password, any subsequent ssh connections would happily authenticate by my public key and would let me in without a problem.

Those of you using home dir encrypiton in Ubuntu are probably smiling right now! 🙂 But becase I have never consciously configured or used this feature, it took me a good few hours to troubleshoot the issue and come up with the fix.

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Welcome to 2012!

It's been so unbelievably long since my last post on this blog that I decided to start this year with a non-technical welcome.

I have great plans for UnixTutorial in 2012, and would welcome any opportunity to share knowledge and experience with all of the readers and new visitors
of this blog.

Here's just a few of the things I plan to do:

  • UnixTutorial members area – long time coming, this area of the website will finally make a proper debut in the next few months. I'll be announcing the next round of email subscriptions shortly, so don't miss out if you're still interested
  • A series of UnixTutorial eBooks – eventually a balanced collection of free and paid material in PDF and Kindle formats (polls to decide which topis are in demand will follow shortly)
  • Broader coverage of Unix topics – this year I expect to write a lot more about Mac OS and AIX systems
  • New WordPress theme and quite likely a mobile copy of the website (let me know what devices you have, I own  iPhone and iPad so will do initial testing)
  • Completion and expansion of the Basic Unix Commands and Advanced Unix Commands sections
  • More Unix book reviews and recommendations
  • Reviews of latest Unix-like OS releases
  • Even more Questions and Answers

If you expect to see even more – now would be a really good time to let me know by leaving a comment. Thanks and stay tuned!