Most tenured RISC OS users will undoubtedly have used telnet in the past in order to obtain command line access to systems. Access machines via telnet however is somewhat of a big no-no these days due to the protocol’s vulnerability to attack from a number of different angles.
SSH however, is a far more capable protocol, that allows for a secure, encrypted connection between the client and server.
OpenSSH and PuTTY are the most widely used SSH clients across all major platforms. Both have been ported to RISC OS, although they’re not the only options available for anyone looking to administer servers or other remote machines from their RISC OS desktop.
Nettle has been the dominant terminal emulator and telnet client for RISC OS for decades – with its speedy display as well as fast native implementation it’s ease of use has surpassed other alternatives.
More recently, Nettle has supported SSH2 natively – allowing for easy SSH access in a full colour GUI enviroment.
A nice feature with Nettle is its Hotlist feature, which gives you the ability to save connections that you connect to regularly to save typing in host details every time you want to connect.
Without a doubt this is the most complete SSH client available on RISC OS today. The only features it lacks compared to say PuTTY on Windows is the ability use authentication keys and utilise the use of proxies to access the remote server.
Natively supported in their terminal offerings by most Linux distributions, OS X and more recently Windows (Powershell), Open SSH is a set of network-level utilities – namely ssh, scp and sftp amongst other utilities.
A command line port of OpenSSH is available for RISC OS, it can be run from the TaskWindow (F12) and uses the same commands as you would on Linux or OS X implementation of OpenSSH.
Operationally, the RISC OS port works well. I have used it in length and it hasn’t thrown up any issues – although graphically it is not great to look at and it doesn’t offer any bells and whistles that you might get with graphical clients.
OpenSSH comes in very useful if you’re wanting to transfer files to remote machines through rsync – which depends on the suite.
One problem however is the RISC OS version is not up-to-date, which could be a big red flag for a security conscious user. The RISC OS port is currently at version 6.0p1-1 where as the main version is currently at 7.2p2.
The popular client for Windows was ported to RISC OS in 2005 – but it is no longer available officially, presumably because it lacked a frontend and was a port of an old version – which would make it vulnerable to a whole host of known vulnerabilities with older versions of the program.
Theo Markettos, who ported PuTTY to RISC OS, has however released ports of other PuTTY tools that are still available for download (pscp, psftp etc).