How to get ssh to work on your Void Linux server

Philip Thomas K.

20 September 20


If you have ever set up voidlinux as a headless server and tried to ssh into it using an st terminal, you would have noticed that it doesn’t work well. Backspace hardly works properly, colours don’t show up, usage of pagers is horrendous to say the least. I ran into this issue after I set up my first voidlinux server.

My assumptions going into choosing voidlinux over the traditional choice of debian was that it would still be very simple to use as voidlinux is headless by default. The issues I ran into above were pushing me to resort to setting up a debian server. I initially thought that voidlinux would be better as the package manager xbps is wildly better than most of the other package managers I have ever used. It was also a rolling release distro which seemed to me like the only sane way to keep machines up to date and running well.

Luckily, I managed to find the issue. After searching online it seemed as though the issue resided within what my terminal was sending to the server. But using any diagnostics to reveal the underlying cause did nothing. However, running xbps-query on the server with the st search term revealed a package called st-terminfo. I installed it in a desperate attempt to fix the issue and it worked flawlessly.

If you use void, you probably use a minimalist terminal emulator like st so I was surprised that this phenomenon was not more widely documented. You can sometimes have your cake and eat it too.

Best Regards,