Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to give certain outside developers access to create Mercurial repositories on our server. However, I don't necessarily want them to have actual SSH logins to browse the server -- or at the least, I only want to create one SSH account. I like the idea that hg-ssh based solutions involve creating a single login exclusively for Mercurial usage, but I don't really understand the process of setting this up.

I know there's something about creating an authentication key for password-less authentication, but I don't really care about that; I'd just as soon have them enter a password. Regardless, I just need this setup ASAP with minimal server access?

share|improve this question

migrated from Dec 25 '11 at 23:13

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You must use SSH keys if you want to use hg-ssh — the restricted shell is only triggered when you log in with a SSH key. Read the header in hg-ssh for instructions on how to set it up:

To be used in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys with the command option, see sshd(8):

command="hg-ssh path/to/repo1 /path/to/repo2 ~/repo3 ~user/repo4" ssh-dss ...

(probably together with these other useful options: no-port-forwarding, no-X11-forwarding, no-agent-forwarding)

This allows pull/push over SSH from/to the repositories given as arguments. If all your repositories are subdirectories of a common directory, you can allow shorter paths with:

command="cd path/to/my/repositories && hg-ssh repo1 subdir/repo2"

You can use pattern matching of your normal shell, e.g.:

command="cd repos && hg-ssh user/thomas/* projects/{mercurial,foo}" 
share|improve this answer

hg-ssh use a feature of SSH where you can force execution of a command and only this command when a specific SSH key is used.

If you configured a key to execute /bin/echo "Hello, goodbye" and you startssh login@host /bin/ls` , the output will be "Hello, goodbye" and the connection will end.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.