OpenSSH, Ubuntu popups and IPv6

I have a couple of on-login tasks doing various distributed office jobs for me: one brought in all the networked drives from machines in this and the other office; the other backed up my locally stored email to the office server. Because my work rarely spans offices I don’t pay much attention to the former; I pay even less to the latter. For various reasons I’m using ssh to make these connections—sshfs and duplicity over ssh, respectively—and I’ve found it easy enough to set up using keys on the two servers in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys .

Until very recently all seemed to be going well with these two jobs, until I suddenly found a rash of OpenSSH popups appearing as Ubuntu struggled in the face of them to start. Often enough of them would appear that GNOME would panic and warn me that my keyboard might have been taken over by, I don’t know, aliens, or lolcats.

It turned out that my machine was presenting itself as IPv6-addressed to one server, on which the authorised key was only set up with the domain name and IPv4 expected values. This was quick to fix: I added the IPv6 address to the entry in authorized_keys and hey! presto, the automated tasks are now running with nary a whisper.

What’s more worrying is that, from the looks of my mail backups, they haven’t run since March. Presumably it’s only been a recent update to ssh on Ubuntu that has directed these password requests to the screen: until now they were probably being lost to /dev/null . So a change that I initially thought was a pain and had reconfigured what ssh was declaring was my machine’s IP address, could actually just have been a tightening-up of the error reporting; in the end I was very glad ssh had annoyed me so much, as the annoyance has potentially saved my email backups.