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BBootstrap key based SSH authentication to a Salt Master

Project description

Salt minion SSH bootstrap


This is unlikely to work on systems other than Ubuntu 20.04. Bones are in place to expand to other versions and OS types. Please feel free to offer patches.

Example usage

Running from a minion host, this will

  • Install and activate ssh server, if not already installed
  • Grant password-less sudo to current user, if not already explicitly named in /etc/sudoers
  • Add Salt master your_master public SSH key to current user's authorized_keys, if not already existing. Key will be read via ssh from your_master as current user (you will be prompted to provide a password)
salt-bootstrap-ssh --all your_master

You can avoid the password prompt by setting an environment variable

SALT_BOOTSTRAP_SSH_MASTER_PASSWD=some_password salt-bootstrap-ssh --all your_master

To create a new local Salt ssh minion service account

  • a_salt_user will be added to local system
  • a_salt_user will have a randomly generated long complex password
  • a_salt_user will be added to /etc/sudoers file with NOPASSWD option
salt-bootstrap-ssh --all --user your_user your_master

You can change which account is used to ssh the Master's ssh public key

salt-bootstrap-ssh --master-ssh-user your_master_user your_master

General usage

salt-bootstrap-ssh [-h] [--all] [--install-ssh] [--enable-ssh] [--user USER] [--create-user] [--grant-sudo] [--master-ssh-user MASTER_SSH_USER] [--master-pki-dir MASTER_PKI_DIR] [--master-ssh-port MASTER_SSH_PORT] salt_master

Bootstrap key based SSH authentication to a Salt Master

This streamlines the effort to enable a Salt master to use salt-ssh on a minion. This script should be run on a minion you would like to control via a named Salt master.

You will be prompted for a Salt master SSH password unless the SALT_BOOTSTRAP_SSH_MASTER_PASSWD environment variable is set.

Supports recent (systemd based) versions of Ubuntu and Redhat.

positional arguments: salt_master The hostname or IP address of the Salt master to bootstrap against

optional arguments:

-h, --help: show this help message and exit

--all: Shortcut to enable all script options. This infers --install-ssh, --enable-ssh, --create-user, and --grant-sudo

--install-ssh: Install a local ssh server if needed. The will leverage the local package management system.

--enable-ssh: Enable local ssh server if needed. The will leverage the local service manager.

--user USER: Named user to bootstrap (default: current user).

--create-user: Create named user if needed. User created will have a randomly generated large complex password assigned with /home/{user} home directory and /bin/bash shell

--grant-sudo: Named user will be added to /etc/sudoers with NOPASSWD privilege (e.g. the user can leverage sudo without providing a password

--master-ssh-user MASTER_SSH_USER: The user to authenticate to Salt master with. This user should either have access to the Salt master PKI directory, or have sudo capabilities to cat the Salt master public RSA key (default: current user).

--master-ssh-user-no-sudo: Do not use sudo if the --master-ssh-user is not root.By default, it is assumed that --master-ssh-user can sudo without a password on the Salt master.

--master-pki-dir MASTER_PKI_DIR: The base Salt PKI directory on the Salt master. The master RSA public key will be referenced from here (default: /etc/salt/pki/master).

--master-ssh-port MASTER_SSH_PORT: The base Salt PKI directory on the Salt master. The master RSA public key will be referenced from here (default: 22).



  • initial release


  • change method to read master public key from sftp to ssh with cat command
  • add --master-ssh-port option


  • fix issue with HOME/.ssh creation


  • fix issue installing openssh client/server on Ubuntu 20

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