ssh-agent no longer being started

Kastus Shchuka macports at
Mon Nov 6 03:19:55 UTC 2017

> On Nov 5, 2017, at 2:44 PM, René J.V. Bertin <rjvbertin at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I've grown accustomed to be able to call `ssh-add -A` periodically to import all certificates stored in my keychain into a running ssh-agent instance that I didn't have to start. After a forced reboot last Friday (the system had been up for 94 days) I find that ssh-agent no longer starts.
> Would anyone have an idea how this is normally started and how I could best fix this? I played with /System/Library/LaunchAgents/org.openbsd.ssh-agent.plist but that doesn't actually start ssh-agent.

The way launchd works, it does not start ssh-agent process at the user login time, it creates a socket and when some other process connects to that socket, only then ssh-agent is brought to life. It is similar to inetd/xinetd. 

> I do have a SSH_AUTH_SOCK var in the launchctl env, but it points to a socket that's used only by launchd itself and by gpg-agent . I see that gpg-agent is started from ${prefix}/etc/LaunchAgents/org.macports.gpg-agent/org.macports.gpg-agent.plist, which also sets SSH_AUTH_SOCK . When I remove that Sockets key from that launchd plist, ssh-agent functionality is restored.

The Listeners key in ssh-agent plist creates a randomly named socket and exports in SSH_AUTH_SOCK to the user’s shell. It should not be shared with gpg-agent to the best of my knowledge.

So if SSH_AUTH_SOCK is pointing to an existing file (ls -l $SSH_AUTH_SOCK shows a socket file) can you run "ssh-add -l” ? 

I also found this link helpful when I was debugging ssh-agent:



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