iSSH on the iPad - SSH and VNC from Anywhere

[UPDATED: The developer of iSSH emailed me this morning with a couple of tidbits that will be useful for any early iSSH adopters on the iPad - see my updated notes in bold.]

One app I haven't had a lot of time to work with (yet) is iSSH on the iPad. I tried the iPhone version, but the tiny iPhone screen simply couldn't keep up with a productive SSH or VNC session.

The iPad changes the game, though; I can actually log in via SSH, do some real work, then go back to doing whatever I was doing on the iPad. Since the iSSH developers didn't have a ton of time to work on an actual iPad, there are some pretty annoying bugs right now—but these bugs will be fixed soon. Some of the bugs:

  • It is very hard to set up an RSA/DSA key pairing from the iPad to your server(s). You will probably have to type in your password on each connection for now :(
  • The interface is a little iffy, and jittery; feels almost like working on a PC.
  • Sometimes, the command prompt gets hidden behind the keyboard (even when the keyboard is in transparent mode). (UPDATE from developerThat missing command prompt is due to a rotation bug not found in the simulator. It's already fixed and ready as part of this week's update. A workaround for the moment is to rotate the iPad to portrait and back and the issue will resolve itself.)

But the upside? See the picture below:

iTerm on iPad
SSH on the iPad. Glorious.

In my review of the iPad, I mention that it's pretty easy to type on the iPad. However, there are some characters that take too long to type in iSSH (namely, the forward slash (/), the tilde (~), and arrow keys). Hopefully there will be a nice shortcut bar or something similar to allow me to set up keystroke shortcuts. I can dream, can't I? (UPDATE from developer: one can use the custom key pie menu today to do that. See here for going about setting it up:

I haven't tried VNC yet (apparently you can even create a tunnel through SSH and VNC to a remote computer), but I will probably try this once or twice as a possible alternative to LogMeIn (I don't want to pay for their iPad app).


Can you make arbitrary tunnels with it? VNC is all fine and good but I have a complex setup to get into work with a jumphost that we get to with an RSA hard token, and then I have to make a tunnel to ssh to an inside host through that. I've never seen an iPhone app that can do that (not un-jailbroken anyway).

I don't ever use VNC for work, just SSH, and I can tunnel into our main web server, our backup webserver (a different host), and my home computer from work. None of these servers require an RSA key, so I haven't really tried that yet.