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To fuse-mount a remote machine, I have to first open a tunnel:

ssh -f -N -L localport:M2:remoteport user@M1

Then, in Vifm, I press Enter on the fusemount.ssh file with contents

-p localport user@localhost:

and, brilliant, it works (I have followed the FUSE mounts section in the manual).

Is there any way to accomplish it all in a single step, i.e., to embed the opening of the tunnel in the .ssh file in some way? Thanks for any help.

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You kinda linked to a possible solution (in "3) FUSE_MOUNT3"). Make a script that parses your file for hosts and ports, accepts directory path and do both ssh and sshfs calls there.

Your .ssh file can probably be the script itself if you do something like: