Syngery is a nifty little app that allows you to control the computers on your desk by sharing one keyboard and one mouse to all of them. Obviously, this application is useful for people with more than one computer on their desks but should come in handy for those with a laptop and a desktop on the same desk, as well. Basically, this application allows you to move your mouse from one computer screen to the next, using the local network and the keyboard is active for the computer where the mouse cursor is currently on. I guess the Synergy splash screen explains it better:

splash-en

Here is the list of features:

  • Seamlessly move your mouse to any computer and start typing.
  • Works on all major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux).
  • Share your clipboard (copy and paste) between your computers.
  • Drag and drop files from one computer to another (Premium).
  • Encryption keeps sensitive data safe on public networks.
  • Save space on your desktop by using one keyboard and mouse.
  • Network-based (IP) software KVM switch (non-video).
  • An alternative to a keyboard/mouse USB switch.
  • Useful for multiboxing (WoW and other games).
  • Easily turn your old laptop or desktop PC into a second screen.
  • Avoid needing VNC for computers close by.
  • Make use of your Raspberry Pi on your desktop.

Installation

I’ve noticed that Synergy gets updated pretty slow in the Ubuntu repositories so if you want to use the latest version, go to Syngergy Download page and get the package for your distribution there.

Otherwise, open-up a terminal and run

sudo apt-get install synergy
for Ubuntu-based distributions
or
yum install synergy
for Red Hat/Fedora-based distributions

For other operating systems (OSX, Windows), go to Syngergy Download page.

 

Configuration – Server

Synergy runs as a client-server application so first, you need to configure the computer that will share its keyboard and mouse with the computers near by. This is the server.

From the server computer, open Synergy from the Utilities or Accessories menu, or run synergy in a terminal. Select the Server option:

Synergy

The next step allows you to configure the encryption for the data transferred across the computers but if you’re using it on your safe, little, home network, you should probably choose to disable encryption.

Synergy

Here is the Synergy main window, running as Server. Take a look at the IP, you will most likely use it in the client configuration:

Synergy

In the next step, press the Configure server button. Here, drag and drop a screen and position it just like the second display is positioned on your desk. My laptop is in the right side of my desktop screen:

Synergy

Now, double click the new added screen and choose a name for it. You’ll need to configure the client with this name so remember it.

Synergy

Quick tip

If your second computer screen (client) is in the right side of the server screen like mine are, it’s a good idea to use the dead corners option because every time you’ll take your mouse in the upper right corner to close a maximized window, the mouse cursor will jump to the client screen which is a bit annoying. So in the Synergy window, click on Configure server, double click on the server screen (the one in the middle), check the Top-right dead corner and make it the size of 99 pixels:

Synergy

All done, Start the server

Configuration – Client

On the second computer (client), once you have installed Synergy, open it and select the Client option.

Synergy-client

Next, select the SAME encryption method you’ve chosen during the server install, or, choose to disable encryption.

Synergy-client

Go to Edit / Settings and set the screen name to the name you’ve chosen during the server install.

Synergy-client

Now, in the Synergy main window, make sure the screen name is the same as you configured it in the server options, type in the server IP (you should have seen it in the Synergy main window running on server) and that’s all, press Start.

If everything worked out good, you should be able to move your mouse cursor between the screens. Active scroll lock on keyboard won’t allow the cursor to switch screens.

Synergy: Control multiple computers with one keyboard
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  • Steve Garside

    Hi,
    I have a mix ( 1 * Windows 8, 2 * Linux Mint 17 ) –
    Question: does it matter which you choose to be the server? (CPU, RAM, Disk Space, OS… age of system)
    thanks
    Steve

    • it doesn’t, really. it’s just a way to keep track of which is what :)

      • Steve Garside

        great – thanks: will post how I get on , later