Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Cross-platform keyboard and mouse sharing

If you regularly use two computers, you might also be using two keyboards and two mice. If you want to save some space on your desk and you don't want to use a hardware switch, there is a very elegant solution available. It's called Synergy. Since this is IP-dependent, you can use it across multiple computers (not limited to two) and multiple platforms (Windows, Linux and MacOS). All you need to do is to install it on the machines you want to link up. You need to set one machine up as the server and the rest as clients (documentation available on the website). Once it's set up, you just need to slide your mouse over to the machine you want to use. The best part is that you can copy and paste across the different machines!

If you're using Linux, install Synergy as:

$ sudo apt-get install synergy

If you're using your Linux box as the server, create a .synergy.conf file and save it somewhere in your home folder. Your file should contain (at least) the following:

section: screens
CPCserver:
CPCclient:
end
section: links
CPCserver:
right = CPCclient
CPCclient:
left = CPCserver
end

where CPCserver is the hostname of the server and CPCclient is the hostname of the client. In this example, the server is to the right of the client.

Once the server is set up, you need to start it. If you do not want to start it each time you log in, simply add synergyd to your startup applications. Make sure you start it as /usr/bin/synergys -f --config /path_to_file/.synergy.conf so that it knows where to search for the configuration file.

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