I finally got around to looking into why my rsync automation fails with my new Lineage OS 17.1 device. The old instructions worked like charm. Sshd will start, but the shell user will receive a permission denied after successful authentication.

It turns out that sshd is unhappy with the file ownership or modes for /data. Now I didn’t want to mess with those nor did I want to move the ssh directory to another place so I cheated and told sshd to relax by adding:

StrictModes no

to sshd_config. Probably sshd dislikes that /data is owned by system and not shell nor root – allowing the system user to erase the ssh directory. Seems like one security concept is ruining another…