Yesterday I was doing some work on my laptop, SSHed in to my desktop (“phoenix”). As always happens when I’m using my laptop from home, I kept getting connection errors… because my ~/.ssh/config on my laptop is setup with my dynamic DNS hostname and port to reach my desktop, for any time I’m out of the house. But those don’t work while on the home network, and I got really tired of having to ssh

It turns out that, as long as your’re using OpenSSH >= 6.5, the ssh_config (5) file (typically ~/.ssh/config) supports a Match directive that can execute system commands, and either match or not based on exit code.

I came up with relatively naive script that tries to determine whether or not I’m on my home network based on a combination of resolv.conf settings, IP address and WiFi SSID:

# test if I'm on my home network,
# for SSH matching. Somewhat naive.
# For use in ~/.ssh/config Match directive;
# exit 0 if I'm at home, exit 1 otherwise
# To debug, run script directly as `bash -x`

# check that I've got the right nameserver and search domain; exit otherwise
grep -q '' /etc/resolv.conf || exit 1
grep '^nameserver' /etc/resolv.conf | grep '' || exit 1

# check that I've got a 192.168.0. address; exit otherwise
ip addr | grep -q '192.168.0.' || exit 1

# check that I'm connected to one of my SSIDs; if so, exit 0 (match)
nmcli -t -f active,ssid dev wifi | grep -q '^yes:ObiWAN' && exit 0
nmcli -t -f active,ssid dev wifi | grep -q '^yes:WAP1' && exit 0

# assume not; no match
exit 1

This can be used in my ~/.ssh/config to trigger an initial (internal network) directive if it exits 0, and fall through to the external-network directive otherwise, as shown below. The originalhost phoenix portion of the Match line ensures that it’s only executed if I ssh phoenix, so it doesn’t conflict with other host directives.

# phoenix when at home
Match originalhost phoenix exec "/home/jantman/bin/"
     HostName phoenix
     Port 22

# fall-through - phoenix when abroad
Host phoenix
     HostName my_dynamic_hostname
     Port <something other than 22>


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