Quick and Easy File Transfer with netrw

Shell Scripts

The two tools use the classical Linux approach – reading from standard input and writing to standard output – which makes it possible to send the output of a program directly to netwrite. You can omit the -o option or redirect the output of the data to appear on the screen of the receiving computer (Figure 5).

Figure 5: If needed, you can send the output of a program across the network.

Mini Chat

If you do not specify an input file or an output file, netwrite reads from the standard input and displays on the standard output. You can use this to build a makeshift chat tool (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Mini chat with netread and netwrite.

If you intend to use this tool over a route outside of your private network, you'll want to secure the communication using Secure Shell (SSH). You need one terminal each for transmitting and receiving. Additionally, you must use a separate port for each direction.


The netrw tools make it easy to transfer data between two computers. They do not rely on any intermediate infrastructure and work practically on demand. And, if you encrypt the payload, you will always be on the safe side when transmitting data.

The Author

Harald Zisler has worked with FreeBSD and Linux since the early 1990s. He writes books and articles for magazines on technology and computer topics. His latest book is the second edition of Computer Networks, published by Galileo Press (German only).

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