To get free (no ads) SSH access to an unrooted Android device you can use DroidSSHd. First install the latest APK from here. Then open the DroidSSHd app on your device and enter a password in Preferences, Service and Authentication, Password. After this, hit Start and you should be able to connect to the IP and Port displayed.

Setting up keybased logins

At this point, only SSH will work. SFTP or SCP are not yet working and to copy your SSH key, we will have to live with SSH alone. Assuming your public key file is located at .ssh/, run on your desktop computer:

cat .ssh/ | ssh -p <PORT> <IP> "cat - > /mnt/sdcard/.key"

The file will not be visible in the Android file manager, but you will be able to select it in the Public Key preference in DroidSSHd. After selecting the key, you should be able to login without a password.

SFTP - Mount the Device's Filesystem

In order to mount the device via Fuse/SSH you have to get SFTP working. The DroidSSHd app currently does not provide the required sftp-server binary. However you can download it here (local copy, MD5). Next, transfer the binary to the device by running (again on the desktop):

cat /<PATH-TO>/sftp-server | ssh -p <PORT> <IP> "cat - > /data/data/"

You will most likely also have to make the file executable, so SSH to your Android device and run

android@android:/mnt/sdcard $ chmod 755 /data/data/

Now you should be able to mount the device from your desktop like so:

$ sshfs -p <PORT> <IP>:/ <MOUNTPOINT>

In my case, this was:

sshfs -p 9922 tab.ea:/ fuse/ssh/

You should now be able to copy files from and this location as normal. Enjoy.

How can I copy from files from one Linux (or generally, any Unix based OS) device to another? Assuming both have some kind of network connection, I usually go and install my SSH key on the target device and then simply run scp or rsync, the latter being especially useful if I need to update the remote file tree. If for some reason there was no SSH, I might resort to FTP, SFTP even, SMB, NFS.

The only option Android leaves - at least if you don't want to void the warranty by rooting the device - is this: Connect the device with a cable (remember this being on the same network) and use the worst protocol you can think of to copy files to the device. Even in the latest Ubuntu the version of the library needed for that is to old, so you will have to painfully upgrade it. Rage ensued!!

I'm not even sure whether Google or Samsung, which manufactured the device in question, are to blame for this. One of them however broke the whole concept of networked devices just to force everyone to either rebreak the jailed concept alltogether or ressort to a crippled, restricted Microsoft developed protocol like MTP. What where they thinking a user would need to copy files?

Dear Google, please fix that. Give the users some way to copy files to their device from native Linux environments. Create an app to run an SFTP server, be it jailed to parts of the file system and let me copy files over there as I usually do. I will now have to head to the Market and look for some third party app to copy files. The heck!