Search: Site Web

Software reVisions

In pursuit of reliable, fault-tolerant, fail-safe software and systems

The Humane Society of the United States

Linux & Windows Synergy

Synergy eliminates the need for a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch when you want to use one keyboard and mouse across multiple computers. The one difference is that video is still routed to each computer's own monitor. Perfect for anyone who wants all the screen real estate they can get!

Contrary to my usual highly critical assessment of most software written today, I'm happy to say that Synergy works as advertised and classifies at the top of my quality ratings as "Way Cool".

Excerpt from Synergy documentation...
Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s). Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen savers so they all start and stop together and, if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to unlock them all. Learn more about how it works.

Synergy installs like any other software on Windows and needed only simple configuration through the GUI to work between two Windows XP machines. Installation through the built-in Synaptic Package Manager on Xubuntu 6.06 ("Dapper Drake") and 7.10 ("Gutsy Gibbon") was a breeze though it required some config file editing. I'm upgrading a machine from Xubuntu 7.10 to 8.04 ("Hardy Heron") now so those experiences are forthcoming. Don't anticipate any problems. A separate GUI setup utility is available called QuickSynergy that simplifies things a lot.

First Linux install was a couple of years ago on SuSE Linux 9.0 (pre Novell takeover) with SuSE's YaST installer, which made the actual install as easy as on Windows. Getting it configured to work both before and after login took some fiddling though. Contrary to the online documentation, the 3 lines needed to start the synergy client (i.e. kill it if it's running, sleep 1, then start it) only have to be invoked in /etc/X11/xdm/Xsetup (which enables Synergy for the linux login screen) and /etc/X11/xinit/.xinitrc (which enables Synergy after login for all KDE user sessions).

Synergy installs under Xubuntu are much like the SuSE install. Client configuration (have not configured server on linux since am using Windows laptop as server) requires modifications to:
  • /etc/X11/Xsession:
    Add startup call just before the "# use run-parts..." line.
  • /etc/gdm/Init/Default:
    Add startup call right after the function definitions.
  • /etc/X11/gdm/PreSession/Default:
    Add startup call right after the function definitions.
  • /etc/X11/gdm/Xsession:
    Add startup call just before the "# use run-parts..." line.

    Synergy is open source and released under the GNU Public License (GPL).

    Highly Recommended!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home