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Summary:

I have written about sharing monitors among different computers so the user can take a screen that is not being used at the moment and make it available to the active computer.  But what about keyboards and mice?  Synergy is a free (GPL) program that not […]

I have written about sharing monitors among different computers so the user can take a screen that is not being used at the moment and make it available to the active computer.  But what about keyboards and mice?  Synergy is a free (GPL) program that not only lets you share that keyboard and mouse among multiple computers but the various computers don’t even have to run the same operating system!  Here’s the description from the Synergy web site:

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.

Sounds perfect for sharing that PC keyboard and mouse with your notebook or Tablet PC.  Synergy runs on all Windows flavors, Mac OS X 10.2+ and Unix.  I haven’t tried Synergy myself but I sure intend to do so.  One user says he just moves the mouse cursor off the right edge of the screen and the keyboard and mouse instantly switch from one computer to the next.  Slick!

(via hackaday)

  1. I just got this set up yesterday on my WinXP and Fedora Core 3 boxes at work. It is totally amazing and very useful. I find I am using my Fedora box more and more and just flick the mouse across to the WinXP box when needed. It makes using two (or more) machines a lot more seemless that using a hardware KVM.

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  2. I’ve been using Synergy for some time and I’m very impressed. I currently use it to navigate between my desktop PC and my tablet PC (Motion Computing M1200. With the tablet in it’s dock I can work very effectively, even using copy, cut and paste to move information between open documents. As yet Synergy doesnt support cut and paste of files or folders but on their website this is a listed as a future feature. Perhaps if more people could use this great program we would see more frequent updates and this feature may arrive sooner than later.

    Incidentally there are two other pieces of software offering roughly the same functionality – Switch KMC which you may find on the TabletPC Post website and Multiplicity which is distributed by Stardock. Multiplicity does allow copying of files using the clipboard, but you pay for the privelege and Switch KMC relies on a keyboard toggle to switch between machines.

    For my money (even though its free) Synergy is the best solution, it works seemlessly, youll wonder how you managed without it and with new features to come things can only get better.

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  3. I too use Synergy between my work laptop (which has dual screens, full sized keyboard and mouse) and my Tablet. I love it. I find it much better (connects better and the mousing action is smoother) than ShareKMC. I haven’t tried it cross-platform, but that’s a cool feature as well. It would be really useful if I could convince my wife I needed a Mac Mini.

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  4. Just released my mistake regarding Switch KMC I should have said ShareKMC – sorry for any confusion.

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  5. Alan Lindsey Friday, May 20, 2005

    Isn’t VNC simpler? I’ve been using UltraVnc to control several machines, including my “server”, from one screen/keyboard/mouse, and even had coLinux as well for a while, where a Linux VNC provided an X server interface with no video adapter needed. There are several flavours of VNC, including one that my son uses on his Mac iBook to run Windows apps (where there are no Mac versions) on a Windows machine in another room.

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  6. Michael Connick Saturday, May 21, 2005

    Synergy works perfectly between my Sony Vaio U750P and Dell Dimension 2350 desktop. I use it with a very cheap USB KVM switch to share the montior, too. The KVM switch wouldn’t handle the mix between USB and PS/2 mice and keyboards, but it was extremely cheap and now with Synergy serves fully its purpose!

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  7. Alan Lindsey,
    VNC serves a whole different purpose. Synergy is useful in that you can use your laptop screen almost as a second monitor; it is *not* for controlling multiple machines on one monitor.

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