I have a laptop computer where I customize my bash using a .bashrc file. Whenever I SSH to a remote host, I always find myself trying to use aliases or other functionality that I have set on my laptop, but they are not there. Today I found a little trick that I can use to copy my .bashrc configuration to a remote host, so I can feel at home.

What we need to do is copy our .bashrc file to the host we are going to SSH to. Something like this would work:

scp ~/.bashrc user@host:/tmp/.my-bashrc

The next step is to source the file, but we don’t want to do it manually. Luckily ssh allows us to specify commands to execute when we connect to a host:

ssh -t user@host "bash --rcfile /tmp/.my-bashrc"

Generally when using ssh with a command, you are not given a terminal. The -t option forces a terminal allocation, which allows us to run bash the way we intend. The last argument (between quotes), is the command we want to execute, which is just bash, telling it to source the file we just copied.

Having to remember these commands is probably too much work, so it’s better to create an alias:

function ssh() {
  scp ~/.bashrc $1:/tmp/.my-bashrc
  /usr/bin/ssh -t $1 "bash --rcfile /tmp/.my-bashrc"

That’s it, from now on remote hosts will feel like home.

[ linux  productivity  bash  ]
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