Plasma secrets: SSH connectivity in Dolphin

Updated: December 16, 2020

Today, I want to show you something rather cool. I will show you how to establish remote connectivity via SSH, from Linux machines using the Plasma desktop environment to other Linux systems, using built-in functionality in the Dolphin file manager. This can be quite useful if you need visual, filesystem-level access to other machines, or to do some data sharing and backups.

We did discuss this in my Linux connectivity guide, but I want to share a few more details. Namely, apart from the initial connection, I want to show you how to preserve credentials and simplify subsequent usage. All in all, we should have spiffy good fun. Now, after you read this tutorial, please watch the Find the Fish Monty Python sketch on Youtube for enhanced enjoyment of the subject matter. Follow me.

Oh fishy, fishy, fishy FISH

Dolphin supports and use the FISH protocol - File transferred over Shell, which supports SSH and RSH in the backend. The usage is quite simple. Launch Dolphin. Double-click on the location line or hit Ctrl + L to expose the address bar in the file manager. The syntax used by FISH is as follows:

fish://username@destination

So type in something like:

roger@192.168.1.104

Provided the IP address (or hostname, if your setup can resolve it) is routable and accessible from the system you're working on (including any firewall rules), you should see an SSH authentication prompt. Dolphin will now prompt for password - which you can save, so you're not asked again in the future. You will now be connected to the remote host, and you can do any which file operation (within the allowed permissions).

Dolphin, SSH authentication

You can go up and down the filesystem(s), and make any necessary changes, including any data transfer. You can also open a shell, which is another supported, built-in function in Dolphin, so you have the full gamut of functionality right there.

Dolphin, SSH

Add to Places

Now, you can also add the remote location as a bookmark/shortcut to the Places section in the sidebar. This makes future connections faster and easier. The authentication will work as long as you don't change the hostkeys on the remote machine.

You can customize the default open location (home folder but not just), change the icon, as well as make this entry only visible inside Dolphin. Combine this with Plasma Activities, which also allows you to log/track only specific applications, and you can have a really nice, flexible setup.

Add bookmark

Bookmark location open

Conclusion

I hope you find this topic delectable. FISH connectivity in Dolphin is an often overlooked yet highly useful feature, which allows you to network with other Linux systems in a GUI-friendly way, without having to worry about command line usage and whatnot. It's also good for manual data backups - not that you shouldn't have a fully automated, unattended setup.

The really nice thing is that you can have multiple bookmarks for the same host (various locations), you can add multiple hosts to the Places, each with its own distinct icon and wording, and you can always open a shell, right there, if you need to. Dolphin, powerful and elegant. And thus endeth this article. O' fishy fish, I loved it so, like a brother.

Cheers.