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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Synergy

So I find myself with a crowded desk: one laptop, a mouse for the laptop, a keyboard, mouse, and two LCDs for my desktop. It's getting crowded, and it gets annoying to switch between different keyboards.

Worse, I do all my Thunderbird email just off the laptop (though I use GMail on either or both). That's a problem when I need to copy text from the desktop to the laptop so I can mail it.

Solution: Synergy -- an open source tool that links my computers together.

Synergy allows me to use my desktop keyboard and mouse on both systems. The mouse travels off the left side of my desktop screen onto the right side of my laptop screen. Focus follows mouse, at least in terms of system-to-system, so I can type on one system (say, the desktop), move the cursor over to the laptop, and type into the active window there (without clicking). Synergy even updates window decorations.

Better yet ... Synergy supports cut-and-paste of text between the two systems. So I can copy text out of my browser on the desktop and paste it into compose window on the laptop. I had thought about using a KVM switch at one time, and this kicks its ass! In fact, had I discovered this a few weeks ago, I might not have bought a mouse for the laptop.

Not an issue for me, but it's also cross-platform. It supports Windows, Linux and (with some problems) Mac OS X.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not an issue in the home environment I guess, but do keystrokes get sent in the clear over the network?

Jeff Sheets said...

I've been using synergy with my OS X box as my keyboard/mouse and driving a Windows laptop for 6 months or so now. It works great, so I can't say that I see any issues with the OS X port of synergy...

Torsten Curdt said...

Neither can I ...works awesome for me. If only drag-and-drop of files was working, too.

Doug Bryant said...

Thanks for sharing! I have beeen looking for a better solution and you threw it my way.

Anonymous said...

has anyone figured out how to get ctrl-alt-delete working with synergy when using the keyboard on the second machine?

Todd Huss said...

I use Win2VNC http://fredrik.hubbe.net/win2vnc.html (or X2vnc on Unix) for this same purpose but it's really a hack built ontop of VNC. I'll have to give this one a try, thanks for pointing it out!

Thomas said...

This is AWESOME!

Works just great. Thanks for pointing me there!