Friday, May 30, 2008

Tried Synergy from MacBook to Dell desktop.

I mentioned yesterday in my other blog about Synergy which allows you to employ a single mouse and keyboard across two or more computers. You can also cut and paste between the various computers which is nice.
So, I tried it out today between the MacBook (Sidux 2008-1) and the Dell desktop (Ubuntu Hardy) and it works but there's a problem with mouse movement in screen2 (for me the Dell). It starts off fine when moved over but kinda runs out of steam after about 30 seconds and thereafter only works intermittently. have to look into this and see if I can solve because otherwise this is a great free app for anybody who has more than one computer on their desk.
Here's what to do:
1. Type "hostname" in a terminal in each computer that you want to link through Synergy. This gives you the hostname of each computer.
For me, I had sidux and paul-dell.
2. Install synergy on each computer. In fact, synergy was available in the repos of both Linux OSes I was dealing with so, in Sidux, I did

# apt-get install synergy

while in Ubuntu I installed synergy through Synaptic.
3. Create a file called synergy.conf in the home folder on the computer where the synergy server will be operated (sidux in my case). Here you must describe the relative positioning of each computer on your desk (whether one is right, left, up or down compared to another).
My synergy.conf file is as follows:
section: screens
section: links
right = paul-dell
left = sidux

where I describe that I have two computers named sidux and paul-dell and sidux (the first one) is where the synergy server is. Further, paul-dell is to the right of sidux. Note that, although it might seem obvious, you still have to input that sidux is to the left of paul-dell.
4. Start the server (on sidux)
Use this command
synergys -f --config synergy.conf

5. Start the client(s)
Use this command
synergyc -f "ip address of server"

where "ip address of server" is the internal IP of the computer where the server is operating. In my case this was

Now, it should be working and you can:
1) Move mouse pointer from main computer (sidux) to the other one's screen
2) Once the mouse pointer is in the second screen (paul-dell), use the sidux keyboard to do stuff on screen2
3) Copy something on screen 1 and paste it on screen 2. I like this and it's a lot more convenient than as long as you have got synergy up and running.

So, this is very nice and useful app and it's a pity that it's not quite working perfectly with the mouse performance poor on the second screen in my case. I'm going to look into this to see if there's any way to overcome this difficulty.
Here are a few very useful links:
Synergy on Ubuntu
Synergy user guide
Synergy howto (Engadget)

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