When connect to server (nautilus / GNOME) can’t seem to find your server…

This one was a bit of a head-banger.  I use ssh_config to cut down on typing when dealing with ssh & scp et al.  My config file is pretty simple and a definition for one server might be like this:

Host KratosLAN
User mbcdev
HostName 192.168.1.10
Port 3421
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id.rsa

This allows me to do cool stuff like just typing ‘ssh KratosLAN’ to connect to that server and have all of those settings applied.

I need to copy files to and from a lot of servers in work so I used the same idea when setting up lots of sftp bookmarks in nautilus / GNOME.  Nautilus has a ‘connect to server’ dialogue where all I needed to do was to give the value for ‘Host’ and it would open the connection, respecting the other settings like username etc in the ssh config file.

The head-banging started when I was trying to set up the same thing on my home machine.  No matter what I tried Gnome kept telling me that the server at the specified hostname was not found.  This was bizarre because I could use ‘KratosLAN‘ in scp and ssh commands just fine.  The solution became apparent when I tried entering this in nautilus by bringing up the location bar (ctrl+l) and typing:

ssh://KratosLAN

Lo and behold I got a similar error message to the connect to server dialogue but this time I noticed that Nautilus had changed ‘KratosLAN’ to ‘kratoslan’.  So, the lesson of the day is:

You’re allowed to have mixed case for your ‘Host’ values in your ssh config file but Nautilus won’t respect it.  For maximum compatibility use only lowercase values for your Hosts.

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