Use MacFUSE sshfs to mount an SSH session on your desktop

A buddy pointed me to MacFUSE from Google today. This is a very cool little app headed up by Amit Singh at Google Inc. Note that the little how-to I am going to show you here is based on the fact that I am using OS X.

MacFUSE implements a mechanism that makes it possible to implement a fully functional file system in a user-space program on Mac OS X (10.4 and above). It aims to be API-compliant with the FUSE (File-system in USErspace) mechanism that originated on Linux. Therefore, many existing FUSE file systems become readily usable on Mac OS X. The core of MacFUSE is in a dynamically loadable kernel extension.

Really quickly it means I can mount an SSH session on my desktop as a folder. For a fast little how-to from the parts I collected from Google, scroll on down past the Google Video.

If you want to hear what MacFuse is about from the creator Amit Singh, checkout this Google Video:

This install will require a reboot of your machine.

Okay, first off, let’s download MacFUSE from Google here.. Before installing MacFUSE you will need to add the /usr/local/bin path to your environment for this to work properly. Edit your ~/.bashrc file and add this line:

then at the prompt enter this and hit return:
source ~/.bashrc

So now you have the path you need in your bash environment, we can go ahead and install MacFUSE. Mount the image you downloaded from Google and install the package in the disk mount and reboot your machine.

Once you machine has rebooted, and you have logged in, hop into Terminal and enter the following to mount an SSH session on your desktop:
sshfs username@domainname:/path/to/mount /local/mount/point -oping_diskarb,volname=your_volume_name

Substitute of course, username, domainname, path to mount, local mount point and your_volume_name for your own information. Hit enter and if all went correctly, you should be asked for the password to the SSH login. Enter the password, hit enter, and again, if all went well, you should now have a new File System mounted on your desktop.

It will work just like a normal folder on your mac, copy files to and from the folder using drag and drop, and the Finder undo even works.

Once you have finished you can unmount the drive easily by ejecting it using OS X’s normal disk ejected method, or you can use:
umount /local/mount/point


  • My buddy said using the Finder eject caused some weirdness on his machine.
  • Here is the link to the MacFUSE wiki for more information.
  • As usual, and even more so than usual since this software is Beta, you are doing everything at your own risk. Don’t blame me if you machine suddenly goes weird. You’ve been warned.


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