Nov 30 2016

My staff and I (read: just Matt and myself) have been hard at work building the tooling and infrastructure to bring the Glider Labs vision to life. As you’ve heard, one of our pilot projects for the reboot is, which is heavily based on SSH. In fact, I’ve worked on a bunch of projects using SSH ever since Localtunnel nearly 7 years ago. And now we’ve finally been able to capture a high-level library for building SSH servers.

It’s called gliderlabs/ssh. Here are the GoDocs.

One of the great things about Go is that it actually has an SSH package as part of its “extended” standard library. It has a great one-to-one mapping of most of the SSH protocol, but as such, it’s still pretty low-level. We’ve gone through a number of ways to organize and build specialized SSH servers with it. Now we’ve gotten to the point where we understand it well enough to build a general, high-level SSH library on top.

And the best thing? We modeled the API after net/http, so building SSH servers is now as easy as building HTTP servers in Go:

package main

import (

func main() {
    ssh.Handle(func(s ssh.Session) {
        io.WriteString(s, "Hello world\n")

    log.Fatal(ssh.ListenAndServe(":2222", nil))

Besides our projects, we’ve also collaborated with fellow Gopher and SSH protocol enthusiast @shazow. He’s worked on one or two SSH projects with us and has his own popular SSH project ssh-chat, so it was very helpful to get his feedback on this API.

And as I mentioned, we use this in and is one of the first steps towards making open source.


I know some of you browse our repositories and may have found sshfront, an SSH daemon that calls out to your own commands to handle SSH sessions and authentication. It’s sort of like CGI for SSH. You get this high-performance server daemon and you can script how to handle sessions using any language you want by just using standard IO.

Since we often need more customization, we haven’t used it in many projects, but it’s great for prototyping. That said, I’d be pretty comfortable using it in production as well. It’s like a simpler, more programmable version of OpenSSH.

Anyway, we haven’t touched it in a while, but we could probably reduce its codebase to a tenth the size by dropping in gliderlabs/ssh. Perhaps that could be an exercise for one of you out there excited to use gliderlabs/ssh?

In any case, enjoy the library and build cool stuff!

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