Friday, November 21, 2008

Share keyboard and mouse with Synergy

Today I'm a happy geek. Why? I discovered Synergy (actually I saw some guys at the lab using it). It allows you to share your keyboard and mouse with multiple machines.

I found it amazingly useful. At the lab, I used to use a single LCD monitor and the times I was with my laptop there, it was always a pain to stretch for typing or moving the cursor (just for the record, I'm not fat!). Now with Synergy I can share smoothly my desktop keyboard with my laptop (also at home).

On Ubuntu, you may find Synergy and Quicksynergy (graphical interface for synergy - very good and simple) at Synaptic Package Manager. Just type in "synergy" and install both.

Between Linux machines, just use Quicksynergy. On the server machine (the one you want to share from) go to the Share tab and type in the machines hostnames (cat /etc/hostname for retrieving the hostname if you don't know) on the positions you want. On the clients (that will use the shared peripherals) just go to the Use tab and type in the hostname or the IP address of the server.

If you want to add a Windows machine as a client, it's as easy as on Linux. Install Synergy from their website and just type in the IP address or hostname of the server.

If you want to have your Windows as server, you'll need to do some configuration. On the configuration Screen, click on the Configure button besides "Screens & Links".

Synergy main window

Screens & Links configuration window

On the top of the window you may see the Screens frame. There you will add which screens you'll use. I didn't read the documentation, so I really don't know if this is correct: I supposed screen name is just the name that appears on windows Synergy application, and the aliases should be the hostnames. Anyways, it worked this way.

(Here's one of my screens config. you really don't have to do much here, just type in the hostname in aliases).

Once you added your screens, you must now add the links. They're all about positioning your screens the way you want it. It's very intuitive, and I think this one you should try yourself. :-)

Have fun!

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