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Bring your favorite shell wherever you go through the ssh

Project description

You stuffed command shell with aliases, tools and colors but you lose it all when using ssh. The mission of xxh is to bring your favorite shell wherever you go through ssh without root access and system installations.

If you like the idea of xxh click ⭐ on the repo and tweet.

[xxh demo]

Portable. Preparing portable shells and plugins occurs locally and then xxh uploads the result to the host. No installations or root access on the host required. Security and host environment a prime focus. Hermetic. Deleting ~/.xxh directory from the remote host will make the remote environment function as if xxh was never there. By default your home is the .xxh directory and you can choose the hermetic level of your xxh session. Careful. No blindfold copying config files from local to remote host. Following privacy and repeatability practices the best way is to fork the xxh plugin or shell example and pack your configs into it.
Be open and fork-ready. Every xxh repo could be forked, customized and reused without waiting for a package management system, xxh release or any third party packages. Five shells are currently supported and more could be added by the community. Do more. The xxh packages are not only about shells. Any type of tool or code could be behind an entrypoint. If you want to run browsh on the remote host, just put its portable version as an entrypoint in the xxh-shell. Chameleon. Switching the shells is as easy as possible and you don't have to be locked in to one shell. Choose your current shell based on the task you want to solve: xxh anyhost +s xonsh for a python environment, osquery for simple querying, fish for modern features or time-tested zsh and bash for speed.

Installation methods

PyPi 3

pip3 install xxh-xxh

pipx - good alternative to brew and pip, read comparison

pipx install xxh-xxh

Conda-forge feedstock

conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda install xxh-xxh


brew install xxh


sudo port install xxh

Linux portable binary

mkdir ~/xxh && cd ~/xxh
tar -xzf xxh-portable-musl-alpine-Linux-x86_64.tar.gz

Linux AppImage

mkdir ~/xxh && cd ~/xxh
wget -O xxh
chmod +x xxh && ./xxh

To run AppImage on Alpine Linux install alpine-pkg-glibc with localedef.


Currently supported OS for target host is Linux on x86_64.

xxh-shell status xxh-plugins seamless demo
xonsh stable autojump, [+] xxh.xsh demo
zsh stable ohmyzsh, p10k, [+] xxh.zsh demo
fish stable ohmyfish, fisher, userconfig, [+] todo
bash stable ohmybash, [+] xxh.bash demo
osquery beta
fish-appimage alpha
elvish alpha

Search xxh shell on Github or Bitbucket or create your shell entrypoint to use another portable shell.

Prerun plugins

Prerun plugins allow you to bring any portable tools, dotfiles or aliases to xxh session before running shell.

Pinned plugins: core (xxh-sudo, xxh-screen, xxh-tmux), dotfiles, docker, python, xxh, vim, zoxide, starship. There is cookiecutter template to create prerun plugin.


Use xxh instead of ssh when connecting to Linux hosts without changing ssh arguments:

xxh <host from ~/.ssh/config>
xxh [ssh arguments] [user@]host[:port] [xxh arguments]
xxh local [xxh arguments]

Common examples (use xxh --help to get info about arguments):

xxh anyhost                                       # Connect to the host
xxh -i id_rsa -p 2222 anyhost                     # Using ssh arguments: port and key
xxh user@host +c et                               # Using EternalTerminal (
xxh anyhost +s zsh +i                             # Set the shell and install it without yes/no question
xxh anyhost +s xonsh +hhh "~"                     # Set /home/user as home directory (read Q&A)
xxh anyhost +s bash +I xxh-plugin-bash-vim        # Preinstall a plugin
xxh anyhost +if +q                                # Force reinstall xxh on the host in quiet mode
xxh anyhost +hh /tmp/xxh +hhr                     # Upload xxh to /tmp/xxh and remove when disconnecting
source xxh.zsh anyhost +I xxh-plugin-zsh-ohmyzsh  # Connect in seamless mode with ohmyzsh plugin
xxh local +s xonsh                                # Experimental: build xxh environment inplace and without ssh

For reusing arguments and simplifying xxh usage (like shortening to xxh anyhost) there is a config file.

Why the plus sign for the xxh arguments? The xxh is using the plus sign for the xxh arguments to save the ability to use the minus sign for the original ssh arguments. This allows just replace the first two letters in the ssh command to convert it to the xxh command. Also see the discussion.

Installing xxh packages

xxh [+I xxh-package +I ...] [+L] [+RI xxh-package +RI ...] [+R xxh-package +R ...]

Different ways to set the xxh package source:

xxh +I xxh-shell-example                                         # install from
xxh +I                  # short url for github only, for other sources use examples below or add support
xxh +I    # short url for github only, for other sources use examples below or add support
xxh +I xxh-shell-example+git+                 # long url for any git repo
xxh +I xxh-shell-example+git+   # github only branch support
xxh +I          # install from private repository using ssh
xxh +I xxh-shell-example+path+/home/user/my-xxh-dev/xxh-shell-example                 # install from local path

Using xxh inplace without ssh connection

This is experimental magic. Please read the text below twice.

If you have shell access on the host or you're in a docker container and you can't ssh to it then you can download and build hermetic xxh environment inplace. The xxh local command works exactly like xxh remote_host and creates a hermetic environment in ~/.xxh by default.

At this time we don't have portable build tools like git, wget, curl, tar and others which could be required by some xxh package build scripts. When running xxh local it is expected that the tools are present on the host.

To run xxh inplace on Linux x86_64 just copy and paste these bash commands:

XH=~/.xxh \
 && XD= \
 && mkdir -p $XH && cd $XH \
 && ( [[ -x $(command -v curl) ]] && curl -L $XD || wget -O- $XD ) | tar zxf - xxh \
 && echo 'Usage: ./xxh local [+s xonsh/zsh/fish/osquery/bash]'

Next time you're on host just run ~/.xxh/xxh local and you will enter your xxh environment.

Examples of use cases

Python with pip everywhere without installation

Way 1. Using xonsh

xxh anyhost +s xonsh

anyhost> python --version
Python 3.8.2

You'll get python-powered xonsh shell with portable python and pip on the host without any system installations on the host. You can install PyPi packages manually or bring them with you automatically by using xxh-plugin-prerun-dotfiles. Also don't forget about xxh-plugins like zoxide.

Way 2. Using portable python on any xxh shell

xxh +RI xxh-plugin-prerun-python
xxh anyhost +s zsh

anyhost> python --version
Python 3.8.2
anyhost> pip install pandas

Using xxh-plugin-prerun-python you'll get a portable Python AppImage which can be used on a host without python and with any xxh shell.

Using docker on host without root access

Try xxh-plugin-prerun-docker:

xxh +RI xxh-plugin-prerun-docker
xxh anyhost +if

anyhost> xxh-docker-run
anyhost> docker ps                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND
anyhost> docker run --rm hello-world | grep Hello
Hello from Docker!
anyhost> xxh-docker-stop

Bring dotfiles to xxh session

There is the xxh-plugin-prerun-dotfiles plugin which creates config files when you go to the host using xxh. You can fork it and create your cozy settings once and forever.

Seamless Oh My Zsh (demo)

source xxh.zsh anyhost +I xxh-plugin-zsh-ohmyzsh +if +q 

This command brings your current Oh My Zsh session theme to the xxh session. If you need more complex settings just fork the xxh-plugin-zsh-ohmyzsh and hack it.

Read host as a table with osquery

$ xxh anyhost +s osquery
osquery> SELECT * FROM users WHERE username='news';
| uid | gid | username | description | directory       | shell             |
| 9   | 9   | news     | news        | /var/spool/news | /usr/sbin/nologin |

All in one portable home

xxh is very agile. You can create your own xxh-shell (the shell part means it has an entrypoint) which can have any portable tools that could help you on the host. Bash xxh-shell is one of these platforms that could be forked and stuffed.

Questions and answers


xxh Development Environment

In the xxh development environment there is full dockerised environment for development, testing and contribution. The process of testing and development is orchestrated by xde tool and is as easy as possible.

Vagrant based Plugin Development

To develop plugins, Vagrant supports starting many configurations of virtual machines using Virtualbox.

See the Plugin Development folder for more details

We have teams

If you're in a team it does not mean you have an obligation to do something. The main goal of teams is to create groups of passionate people who could help or support solving complex problems. Some people could be an expert in one shell and a newbie in another shell and mutual assistance is the key to xxh evolution. Ask join.


Project details

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