I have two partly-dead laptops. The first will not run X, and the second has some sort of problem with the monitor. I am not interested in repairing either of them, but since they both have firewire ports, I'd like to use some program to be able to transfer files from the second laptop (dead monitor) onto the first laptop (no X server). Ideally, I'd like to be able to browse the filesystems on the dead-screen laptop, from the other laptop, and have total control over it.

I need some help, though. At first, I couldn't seem to find much information about how to network them. But then I found that it was simply,

modprobe firewire-net
ip address add dev firewire0 <ip address>
ifconfig firewire0 up

which is nice. But I've never done any networking, so even though dmesg notes an IPv4 connection, I still can't transfer any files. For instance, I assigned the IP to the first computer and to the second, and when I type

ping -c 2 

from the second, or

ping -c

from the first, I get the message:

connect: Network is unreachable.

But how can I make the module load at boot time, and the interface configure automatically, since the screen almost always dies on the second after about 10 minutes of use? Presumably, I need to add stuff to /etc/network/interfaces, right? And once the interface is connected, what program can I use to grab files on the dead-screen laptop?

  • 1: what the output of route -n prints? 2: what distro are you using (relate to the networking on reboot setting) which basically you need to add ONBOOT=yes in the relevant interface file (on redhat based systems).
    – Hanan
    Dec 12, 2011 at 21:31
  • 1
    Don't use ifconfig, or any other old tools from net-tools… and why use both ip and ifconfig. The former can do everything! s/ifconfig/ip link set dev/.
    – pilona
    Dec 10, 2013 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


There's a similar question already answered, though it's for a static 1394 device

Have you read Under Ubuntu, how do I set a static IP for firewire?

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