You need to remember that connecting to a shell is only one option with SSH and we might not even be connecting to linux/unix. We are dealing with big network boxes that implement their own environment that is not shell and absolutely zero shell commands works (even if these boxes do have shell it is likely a massive deal getting access to it). Sometimes the boxes talk XML. Other times we avoid shell and communicate directly with our own perl script on the remote server. This works really well because we can give a remote dept access to talk to our script only and we can really control what they can do then. It beats giving them shell access and hoping that we locked everything down correctly. Come to think of it I pretty much never connect to a shell, certainly I would exhaust every other option first. Using shell is generally going to result in code that breaks with different OSes.
With regards the uniqueness I think you are correct, it would be possible to get something unique. However, again it is something I would use as a last resort as it is still a hole in the software that could possibly be a security risk.
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