Keyboard and Mouse Sharing

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Revision as of 06:49, 22 December 2012 by imported>Handy (→‎Introduction)
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Synergy - Mouse & k/board Sharing Across Multiple OS's


Synergy is a brilliant piece of software that doesn't require much effort to get going, Though after that it required me some more time to get it to function just how I want it to = faultless autostart.

So What Does Synergy Do?

I can now use my favourite keyboard & mouse to operate two computers (synergy will do plenty more computers if you have them) one at a time of course...

The two machines are set up to load synergy when they boot, & it doesn't matter what order the server or the client is booted in, when they are both up, synergy automatically does its stuff, using next to no system resources.

The Three B's - BS, Blurb & Bug:

Years ago I paid a lot of money for a really good quality four machine handling KVM switch box. It worked very well via keyboard command until the day it failed. :( In those days when I was fixing computers, that KVM was far superior to synergy because it was hardware that was system independent & worked on anything that had a working BIOS.

For my needs today, the synergy system shits all over a KVM, though there are varying limitations which are dictated by the display manager / OS you are using.

Running Openbox, I can't make use of synergy until OB has loaded. On some Linux display managers you can use it before hand & I'm sure that OS/X & the various Windows all have their strengths & weaknesses in this regard. In the end this doesn't really matter to me as I spend very little time outside of OB anyway. So for my current computer usage synergy is all but gob smacking perfect.

All but? Yes, just one tiny bug that effects a few of us. For some users when moving the mouse from one computer screen to another you get a one or (far more rare) a two second black screen.

I got the one second one when moving from the client to the server. For most this is fixed by issuing the command xset -dpms. This works for me so I issue it in ~/.xinitrc so the problem never appears.

This problem has been around for about a year, & someone has written a patch for it inside of the last month, so I'll hang back & wait for the next release which I expect to have killed this bug, in the mean time I no longer know it exists.

I'm sure that this bug no longer exists, don't be put off by it.

The Synergys Server:


Rather than me going through it, the Archwiki has a great page on the topic:


My /etc/hosts file follows which should speak for itself:             rightpc.localdomain  rightpc         ## the HP server             leftpc.localdomain      leftpc          ## the iMac client


Here is a great start (a complete solution in my case) for a very smoothly running pair of machines (easily edited for more though), via one mouse & keyboard being connected to the synergys server - this synergy.conf is the server configuration file which does the job faultlessly for me:


section: screens
		halfDuplexCapsLock = false
		halfDuplexNumLock = false
		halfDuplexScrollLock = false
		xtestIsXineramaUnaware = false
		switchCorners = none +top-left +top-right  +bottom-left +bottom-right 
		switchCornerSize = 0
		halfDuplexCapsLock = false
		halfDuplexNumLock = false
		halfDuplexScrollLock = false
		xtestIsXineramaUnaware = false
		switchCorners = none +top-left +top-right +bottom-left +bottom-right 
		switchCornerSize = 0

section: aliases

section: links
		right = rightpc
		left = leftpc

section: options
	heartbeat = 1000
	relativeMouseMoves = false
	screenSaverSync = false
	win32KeepForeground = false
	switchCorners = none +top-left +top-right  +bottom-left +bottom-right 
	switchCornerSize = 4

This synergyc.conf file suits my uses perfectly, I found it on the Arch wiki, & it needed no functional modification. I put it in /home/handy as a <.dot> file i.e. ~/.synergy.conf .

OK, that is the server taken care of above, now its time for;-

The Synergy Client(s):

Install synergy.

Client /etc/hosts:

Edit the /etc/hosts file, mine is below for those that do need to reference, & if you do make sure you compare it with the server side one posted earlier on this page:     leftpc.localdomain               leftpc          ## the iMac client     rightpc.localdomain             rightpc         ## the HP server [/code]

Synergy shares the clipboard too!!!

(By the way, due to synergy I could just use the keyboard shortcuts to copy the above from the Terminal on the client & then move my mouse over to the server where I'm typing this & then use the keyboard to paste it! Synergy shares the clipboard too!!! Which is brilliant.)


Add the following to the ~/.xinitrc file (guess how I copied it?):

synergyc -d ERROR rightpc

No need for the xset -dpms bug fix on this machine thankfully (It extremely likely that this bug is now long dead).


The server is where the hardest work is, beyond that it comes down to getting your auto-start sorted so that it just works no matter which machine(s) come on in what order. For me the above works in that regard perfectly, (once Openbox has loaded).

I hope the above makes the info that is already on the net just a little easier to optimise for your usage.

I'm SO happy to at last not be swapping the ***king keyboards & mouses all the time, it drives me ***king nuts.