SSH Agent with Powershell

Another "note to my future self", recoded here for posterity.

Today I finally got around to making SSH agent work in Powershell with Git.  For the last year or so, I haven't had to deal with because my work mostly involved writing PHP code inside of WSL.  In that scenario, you're essentially using Linux, so ssh-agent works just fine.

But on native Windows with Powershell...not so much.

I mean, sure, I could just use Git BASH.  But why would I want to do that?  Powershell is awesome, and even if I probably know BASH better, I prefer Powershell.

But it turns out it wasn't all that difficult to get things working in Powershell.  There were two pieces to it:

  1. Use the right SSH agent (i.e. the one that comes with Git).
  2. Write a Powershell adapter for it.

It turns out that there's a Windows service for "OpenSSH Authentication Agent".  I'm not entirely sure what installs that, but apparently it's different from the ssh-agent that's installed with the Windows Git package and the ssh-add command from that doesn't seem to talk to it properly.

My solution was to just disable that service and use the plain-old ssh-agent that comes with Git.  The only problem with that is that the traditional invocation of eval `ssh-agent` doesn't work in Powershell because it outputs a BASH-formatted script.  But that's easily fixed with a couple of regular expressions.  So I added this to my Powershell $profile:

Set-Alias ssh-agent "$env:ProgramFiles\git\usr\bin\ssh-agent.exe"
Set-Alias ssh-add "$env:ProgramFiles\git\usr\bin\ssh-add.exe"

# Need to turn off Open SSH Authentication Agent system service,
# then run the ssh-agent from Git.
function Start-SshAgent {
    $output = (ssh-agent)
    $sock_match = ($output | Select-String -Pattern 'SSH_AUTH_SOCK=(\S+);')
    $sock_path = $sock_match[0].Matches.Groups[1].Value
    $pid_match = ($output | Select-String -Pattern 'SSH_AGENT_PID=(\d+);')
    $agent_pid = $pid_match[0].Matches.Groups[1].Value
    $env:SSH_AUTH_SOCK = $sock_path
    $env:SSH_AGENT_PID = $agent_pid
    Write-Output "Agent pid $agent_pid"


And there we go!  Now I can just run ssh-add to add my key and Git picks it up as expected.

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