IPhone SSH Client Roundup

iPhone and keyboard
Considering an iPhone but not sure if you can live without SSH in your pocket? Have no fear! Hot off the press is this review of four SSH clients for the iPhone: iSSH, pTerm, TouchTerm, and SSH. All four clients have their strengths and weaknesses, and iSSH seems to be the best option so far. Although each of these is an early release, and therefore has its own idiosyncrasies, they’ve got improved features being planned for the next major release. Furthermore, they’re surprisingly inexpensive (none of them are more than five dollars), and so you should give them a shot if you see the need to SSH without being bound to your terminal.

iSSH is the best of the reviewed clients, giving you a good balance of usability and features. It has is share of problems, though, primarily related to the way it handles scrolling, pTerm comes in second, and is almost perfect. Its two rather glaring weaknesses are a too-large font that requires plenty of scrolling, and a lack of Ctrl, ESC, and Tab keys. TouchTerm, which comes in third, is the most configurable of the reviewed SSH clients,but is otherwise irrationally quirky. SSH is even quirkier than TouchTerm, and is a waste of your time and money.

Between the idiosyncrasies of iSSH, pTerm, and TouchTerm, you’re bound to find one that you like. Furthermore, these are initial releases; all three have exciting features on the roadmap (like implementing the ESC key) which should improve their usability.

Should you give one of them a try? For five bucks, it wouldn’t hurt.

[photo: edans]

[via Waxy]

17 thoughts on “IPhone SSH Client Roundup

  1. Yeah. I’ll hold out on the iPhone until I can install software on it myself (without iTunes or Jailbreaking). I need some things that the iPhone simply will probably never to (like OpenVPN).
    Why can’t I just use OpenSSH or PuTTY, or myriad other free SSH client implementations? Oh yeah. Apple makes you pay to distribute software via iTunes.

    Sorry for the rant, but the iPhone, while being a beautiful piece of engineering, is a very, VERY evil thing.

  2. I’m not your usual iphone user; after all my research into available and soon-available phones, though, it’s the best of the bunch. Touch Diamond and Touch Pro have high res screens, but they’re (significantly) smaller. Touch Pro’s as thick as the old Treo 650. X1’s in perma-delay. I *can* write apps for iphone (yes, jailbreaking, whoop-de-doo), and from a day-to-day point of view, the iPhone is only about a hundred times ahead of windows mobile. If Palm could ever get their heads out of their arses they might be able to win back one of their biggest fans, but sadly I don’t think this will ever happen.

    As far as VPN goes; the iphone has L2TP, PPTP and IPSec as standard; that’s a pretty good list as far as I’m concerned. Tethering is my only real need that it doesn’t have, but there are (crappy) workarounds, at least until someone manages to locate the entry points for the hidden SDP and HCI calls that would allow me to add profiles on my own.

    All of that is not to mention the fact that since the iphone *is* the popular phone, I’m never far from whatever accessory I may need, and the 30-pin header is a great hacking opportunity for the device.

    Evil? You call the iphone evil and not the shite that is windows mobile? I’m no fan of Apple, but the iPHone has a lot more right with it than it has wrong.

  3. zish:
    > Yeah. I’ll hold out on the iPhone until I can install software on it myself (without iTunes or Jailbreaking)

    Just Jailbreak the thing. It’s trivial to do (on 1.1.4 you launch an application and click a button, with v2 there’s a step-by-step walk-through in the PwnageTool application, and I think there’s a “QuickPwn” thing which is single-click)

    > Why can’t I just use OpenSSH or PuTTY

    If you jailbreak, you can! It has a full terminal (zsh by default) with the regular openssh client. You can also install the gcc-toolchain thing and compile whatever command line application you want, or just use one of the many native-iPhone SSH clients reviewed here..

    I have to agree with your distain of the iTunes App Store

    mklebel/”I can’t kill a command with ctrl c or x. I have yet to find a ash client for the iPhone that can do this”:

    In MobileTerm on 1.1.4/Jailbreak, you press ctrl by doing a stroke-gesture down-and-right. then type c to do “ctrl+c”.. It’s slightly unintuitive, but works fairly well once you discover it.. And judging by the iSSH screenshot, they have a Ctrl button..

  4. If you jailbreak you get can install OpenSSH through Cydia. Using ssh is the only way I know of to put on your NES roms :D. The emulator, of course, couldn’t be easier to install.

  5. More of these apps should be available outside the US store. How difficult can it be to put them on european stores and earn more?

    Please iPhone developers :)

    And please bring me a Wardriving app. The wificard and GPS is there…

  6. @#2

    The hacking component of this entry is compiling widely available code and selling it for $5 to any sucker who would take hackaday’s “why not give it a try” advice.

  7. >>”THIS is your selection of ssh apps? God the >>iphone sucks. 130000 applications and almost none >>of them are actually useful.”.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  8. >>”THIS is your selection of ssh apps? God the >>iphone sucks. 130000 applications and almost none >>of them are actually useful.”.

    Yawn. Not useful to you perhaps.
    It’s a consumer focused pocket comms device.

    As usual, Apple invented the concept and everyone else followed. Their itunes model isn’t the greatest but, well, I’m glad there’s a method of controlling available apps.

    It’s not for hackers. Frankly I’d be happier if hackers stayed out of it. You can have your jailbreaks and dodgy apps. But I want my phone to “just work” when i need to dial 911.

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