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When I try to login into a Ubuntu machine using rlogin it mentions ssh connection refused. In order to resolve this I installed the openssh-server package on the remote machine. Why is this not part of the Ubuntu distribution? Do I really need this service?

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SSH is a server-client technology. You need an SSH server on your remote machine if you want to connect to it remotely via SSH protocol. There is no way around it. Just like you need an FTP server in order for you to connect to that same machine via FTP. I believe if you installed the server edition of Ubuntu, it should have the SSH server package installed by default. Otherwise, you'll need to install it, and configure it properly/securely.

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