I’ve been using synergy for quite some time now. It allows you to share a single input (ie; mouse & keyboard) between multiple machines without the need for any type of switches or extra hardware. Everything is done over the network. This is great for situations where you might have two local desktops or, in my situation, where I bring my laptop into the office and then share the desktop keyboard and mouse between the two machines. To setup synergy follow the steps below (this outlines steps for an all ubuntu network, or a mixed ubuntu and XP network.)
- sudo aptitude install synergy (ubuntu machine)
- Download Synergy (windows machine)
After you have Synergy installed you simply need to configure the screens that you’d like to use. Configuring synergy is fairly simple once you get an idea of how it works. Below is an example synergy.conf file that I use on my network. You should be able to pretty easily figure out your configuration based on that.
left = notebook
right = silverbox
Let me break this down for you. The first half of this is the “section: screens” which defines the screens you want to use. You need to use the hostnames of your networked machines in this area. As you can see one of my screens is notebook, for my laptop, and the other is silverbox, for my desktop machine.
The second half is the “section: links” which maps where each screen should display. From the example you can see that to the left of silverbox is notebook and to the right of notebook is silverbox. Basically repeat this layout for all machines that you want setup. I have setup five machines on one network. Basically list the screens (hostnames) and then map where each screen shows on that map and you’re done. You can use right, left, up and down for your directional mapping. Pretty simple.
The windows setup is a little more complicated and I’m not sure I can explain it without screenshots (which I don’t have). If you’re using synergy with XP as the server you’re outside of the reach of this post. A simpler method might be to use Ubuntu as the host and simply click the option in synergy for XP “use another machines input: ” and enter the hostname or IP address there.
Running Synergy is pretty simple as well. Based on your map (above), which is saved as synergy.conf on the “server” or “host” machine, you can easily get things going. Below are the commands for starting the server and the client.
synergys –config .synergy.conf
Note the synergyS for server and synergyC for client.
Once you get things setup the way you’d like you can simply add the appropriate command to your System > Preferences > Sessions > Startup Programs and it’ll auto load & connect each time you log into your profile.