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I have a Macbook Pro running OS X 10.5.8 and a PC running Ubuntu 9.04. I want to transfer several large files from the Mac to the PC. My home router only does 100 megabit/s, but both computers support 1 gigabit/s Ethernet connections. Both computers have USB and Firewire ports. What is a simple way to transfer files?

If both computers were Macs, I could boot one of them in Firewire Transfer mode and mount it as an external drive on the other one, but can this be made to work on Ubuntu? If I simply connect them with an Ethernet cable, is there some kind of server I can install on the PC so that it is able to connect to the Mac, and I could simply use scp or rsync to transfer the files?

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I'd use Samba as it's well supported on both systems. Set up Samba on Ubuntu 9.04, share the folders you want and access them through the Mac.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Connecting the computers with an Ethernet cable worked, but I had to do some configuration on the PC: right-click on the network icon in the top bar, Edit Connections, Add, name it something like "Link local", IPv4 Settings, set Method to "Link-Local Only". Then left-click on the icon and select the new setting. The Mac picked up a link-local address in the 169.254 network automatically, and with this configuration change Ubuntu worked too. I could ping each computer from the other by checking out the link-local address of each, but I found no obvious way to find out what the other's IP address was other than by looking at the output of ifconfig on that computer.

For some reason ssh would not work, but I enabled Samba on the Mac (since it comes preinstalled there): Sharing, File Sharing, Options, enable SMB. Then I could see the Mac on the PC by selecting the Network shortcut in File Browser, and could mount the Public folder of the Mac. I could access it on the command line under ~/.gvfs, and a simple rsync command got the files over much faster than via the 100Mbit home router.

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