1Password allows developers to sign git commits using SSH by setting up their own SSH agent. Doing this in your host platform e.g., Windows, is relatively straight forward but if you want to set this up in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) there is additional configuration you need to perform.

While there are many different ways to configure this, many have you set up a service or autorun program but I want neither of those affecting Windows boot and login performance for something I don’t use often throughout the course of every day. Fortunately, I found one one such article that accomplished exactly what I wanted using socat and npiperelay.

I made a few modifications including how to acquire npiperelay given changes to the Go toolset.

1. Acquire npiperelay

You need to acquire npiperelay in Windows. You can download it from https://github.com/jstarks/npiperelay/releases/latest into a directory in your PATH environment variable or, if you have Go installed, run:

go install github.com/jstarks/npiperelay@latest

2. Install socat

Next you need to install socat in your WSL distribution. I’m assuming you are using some Debian-based distro e.g., Ubuntu. If you are using another distro, please use appropriate commands.

apt update
apt install -y socat

3. Create startup script

You’ll need to create a bash script that will start when you log into your distro. I’m assuming bash below.

mkdir ~/.1password
touch ~/.1password/agent && chmod +x ~/.1password/agent

Open ~/.1password/agent and paste the following content:


export SSH_AUTH_SOCK=$HOME/.1password/agent.sock

ALREADY_RUNNING=$(ps -auxww | grep -q '[n]piperelay.exe -ei -s //./pipe/openssh-ssh-agent'; echo $?)
if [[ $ALREADY_RUNNING != '0' ]]; then
    if [[ -S $SSH_AUTH_SOCK ]]; then
        rm $SSH_AUTH_SOCK

    (setsid socat UNIX-LISTEN:$SSH_AUTH_SOCK,fork EXEC:'npiperelay.exe -ei -s //./pipe/openssh-ssh-agent',nofork &) > /dev/null 2>&1

4. Run script on login

To run the script when you log in interactively, edit your appropriate profile e.g., .bashrc for bash:

. ~/.1password/agent

You can restart your login session or just source ~/.1password/agent yourself.

5. Test

Assuming you have already configured 1Password’s SSH agent using the instructions at the beginning of this post, you can test and reset any git repository you have handy e.g.,

cd ~/src/some-project
echo test > test.txt
git add -A
git commit -am'test' -S
git show --show-signature

Unknown signer

If the git show --show-signature command about shows an unknown or invalid signer, be sure you have your allowed_signers set up for git. Unlike GPG that can use counter signatures to validate identities, SSH signatures need explicit approval:

mkdir -p ~/.config/git/
cat ~/.ssh/identity_rsa.pub > ~/.config/git/allowed_signers
git config --global gpg.ssh.allowedsignersfile $HOME/.config/git/allowed_signers

Blocks tunneling into other hosts

If you are also using SSH to tunnel into other hosts, you should configure SSH separately for github.com:

Host *
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Host github.com
    IdentityAgent ~/.1password/agent.sock
    IdentitiesOnly yes