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LAN help requested

I'm having trouble setting up an ethernet, I have two
laptop comuters that i would like to network with the
help of an older desktop computer that would act as a
file server and gateway/firewall to the internet.  I
understand the theory of how this works pretty well,
but in practice i don't get very far.  My main problem
now is getting the
network itself setup so that the hosts can ping each
other. I can't even ping between the two little
computers with just the ethernet cable between them, so
the server isn't really a part of this problem.

The ethernet cards ARE supported by the kernel images
i'm using in each machine, and no i don't need to load
modules. I use ifconfig to program each card with an
IP. Here's what my ifconfig -a looks like from one

eth0  Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:10:5A:1B:F3:6B
inet addr:  Bcast:

The other looks identical, but with a different IP
addr, of course.  So that's good.

Now according to the network administrators guide, I
should add a route entry; so i do this "route add -host" to which i get the error code:
SIOCADDRT: No such device.

Well, borq!  I don't know what i can do beyond this!
Maybe one of you out there can see where i'm mistaken.

Tony Firecloud

PeoplePC:  It's for people. And it's just smart. 

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