Read­ing Time: 2 min­utes

When I think of all of the tools I use on a reg­u­lar basis to do my job more effec­tive­ly, there are a hand­ful that stand out as being the most use­ful of all. As I get the chance, I plan on writ­ing a least a short homage to each one in turn. In my line of work, it is much more com­mon to notice the things that break, or go wrong, or just don’t work as adver­tised; it is much less com­mon to appre­ci­ate the things that just work.

With that in mind, it is only fit­ting that I start with one of the most use­ful and reli­able pro­grams I have ever used: Put­ty. Most of you are prob­a­bly famil­iar with this lit­tle gem, but for those of you who aren’t: a lit­tle infor­ma­tion is in order.

Put­ty is a com­bi­na­tion SSH, Tel­net, and Rlogin client, as well as ter­mi­nal emu­la­tion soft­ware. I first dis­cov­ered this pro­gram at some point back when I start­ed hating–with a blind rage–Microsoft’s built-in Hyper­t­er­mi­nal appli­ca­tion. I soon had switched to Put­ty full-time, and haven’t ever had the urge to even inves­ti­gate oth­er options. I don’t know if the writ­ers of Put­ty are rich, but if they aren’t they damn well deserve to be.

To wit:

I use Put­ty dai­ly for doing all of my Cis­co con­sole work, as well as for all SSH con­nec­tions to both Cis­co and Unix devices. On the Cis­co side, it just works nice­ly allow­ing for a vari­ety of cus­tomiza­tions as well as easy cut­ting-and-past­ing of code to and from Notepad or what­ev­er you use (Com­plex ACL edit­ing, etc.) On the *nix side, one of the nicest fea­tures is the X‑11 for­ward­ing which allows you to tun­nel back X11 appli­ca­tions, via SSH, to your local client (assum­ing you are run­ning *nix local­ly, or have an X11 win­dow man­ag­er of some sort run­ning. We hap­pen to use Exceed, but there are free ver­sions avail­able.)

The amount of cus­tomiza­tion you can do to Put­ty, from auto-mag­i­cal win­dow label­ing, to key-strokes and short­cuts, to saved ses­sion infor­ma­tion, etc. is a beau­ti­ful thing. At home, for lab work, I have set­tings saved for all of my con­sole-serv­er con­nec­tions so that I just have to “point-and-click” to open any of my myr­i­ad devices.

I could prob­a­bly go on and on, but suf­fice it to say that this lit­tle gem of a pro­gram should be in your arse­nal if it isn’t already. It is one of the first pro­grams I install on any machine from which I plan on doing seri­ous work.

Put­ty can be found at: Put­ty Down­loads Page and is well worth a look.