Keychain is a manager for ssh-agent. It allows your shells and cron jobs to share a single ssh-agent process. By default, the ssh-agent started by keychain is long-running and will continue to run, even after you have logged out from the system.

When keychain is run, it checks for a running ssh-agent, otherwise it starts one. It saves the ssh-agent environment variables so that subsequent logins and non-interactive shells such as cron jobs can source the file and make passwordless ssh connections. In addition, when keychain runs, it verifies that the key files specified on the command-line are known to ssh-agent, otherwise it loads them, prompting you for a password if necessary.

Keychain also supports gpg-agent in the same ways that ssh-agent is supported.

keychain supports most UNIX-like operating systems, including Cygwin. It works with Bourne-compatible, csh-compatible and fish shells.

Keychain is free software. You can find the source here.

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