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Promote Synergies (like a BOSS!)

2010/07/23

Simply put, Synergy is rad.  My setup at work is a laptop and a netbook, each driving an external monitor.  My setup at home is a desktop machine driving 2 big monitors, and the netbook on the side, for chat windows, email, tunes, stuff like that.  So, I use Synergy share the keyboard and mouse from my laptop to the netbook when I’m at work, and the desktop pc to the netbook when I’m home.  Best of all, it works on Linux, Windows, and Mac! That’s right kids, you can use the SAME keyboard and mouse to control multiple computers, all running different operating systems, across as many screens as you can handle!

There’s a GUI, and some different tools to set up and configure on Windows, Mac, yada yada, but right now I’m on Linux, and all about the command line love.

On Ubuntu, as with most such useful things, it’s trivially easy to install.

$ sudo apt-get install synergy

Before you fire it up for the first time, you’ll have to hack together a config file, but the syntax is pretty easy.  Once you have that sorted out, start the Synergy server with

$ synergys

on the host machine (machine you want to share the keyboard and mouse from,) and

$ synergyc [hostname of the machine running the synergy server]

e.g.

$ synergyc  my_rad_hax1ng_b0x

on the guest.

Voila.  Connected.   Magical.

I like to use a keyboard shortcut to pop back and forth between machines (of course.)  It’s really easy to set up in the Synergy configuration.  Just add this to the end of your ~/.synergy.conf file.

section: options
  keystroke(alt+control+j) = switchInDirection(left)
  keystroke(alt+control+k) = switchInDirection(right)
end

Pretty self explanatory, but just in case it’s not, when you restart the Synergy server, Ctrl+Alt+K will move you to the machine on the right of wherever you currently are, and Ctrl+Alt+J will move you one machine to the left.  I’ve run Synergy across 5 hosts at a time, and while it’s kind of insane, it works.  Well.  Very well.  It’s amazing.  Really amazing.  I could go all day here people. But I won’t.  Moving on.  Now.  Right now.  Seriously.  For real this time. I’m not kidding around.

Have fun, and happy hacking!

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