Ssh into the XO

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Sometimes you'll want to access your XO from another computer. To do this, we can use SSH. Here's how.

On the XO

Enable remote login

On OLPC OS, remote login is disabled by default. To enable it, start the Terminal activity and then copy and paste these two lines:

sudo chkconfig sshd on
sudo service sshd start

Set a password for root

By default, root does not have a password, and therefore cannot be used for for remote login. To set a password for root, start the Terminal activity and then copy and paste this line:

sudo passwd

Follow the prompts. This is what it might look like:

[olpc@xo-a7-4b-33 ~]$ sudo passwd
Changing password for user root.
New password: 
Retype new password: 
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
[olpc@xo-a7-4b-33 ~]$ 

Find the IP address

Remote login needs a host name or IP address. To find the IP address, right-click on the network device icon in the frame. The IP address will be shown.

If that doesn't work, we have an old method still available; use the Terminal activity copy and paste this line:

sudo ifconfig eth0

This will display a lot of text. Like this:

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:17:C4:A7:4B:33  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::217:c4ff:fea7:4b33/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:34 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:64 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:5537 (5.4 KiB)  TX bytes:17090 (16.6 KiB)

You can find the IP address in the second line, just after the words inet addr:. It should be four numbers separated by periods. In the example above, the IP address is

On the other computer

You will need an SSH client program. Some computers have one already, some need one installed. See Wikipedia's comparison of SSH clients.

Give root@IP to your SSH client program, where IP is the IP address of the XO you wish to login to. You will be prompted for the password. You'll see a shell prompt once login is successful.

Linux or Mac OS X

Both Linux and Mac OS X typically have SSH installed already.

Start the Terminal application, then type:

ssh root@IP

Another XO

Any XO running OLPC OS will have SSH installed already.

Start the Terminal activity, then type:

ssh root@IP

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows does not include an SSH client program by default.

See Comparison of SSH clients. One client regularly suggested is PuTTY. Run the program, then type


in the ip address entry field, then press "Open".


If you have enabled automatic power management it may cause trouble connecting or remaining connected. Wake up the XO for the initial connection. XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4 will wake up automatically when you begin typing inside an SSH connection. Turn off automatic power management if it is not needed.