Thursday, May 31, 2007


One of the most overlooked programs in Ubuntu is a tool called QuickSynergy. You may be familiar with its beefier, less user-friendly older brother Synergy, but for those who aren't, Synergy allows you to connect multiple computers into one giant desktop. For instance, if you have a laptop and a desktop computer, Synergy allows you to use the desktop's mouse and keyboard for both computers as if the laptop were an extra monitor. What's great about it is that the laptop can be running one operating system and the desktop another. At work I am responsible for an e-mail system with thousands of users, so I have to be able to test and develop with Linux, Windows, and OSX. With Synergy, I can use the mouse and keyboard attached to my Ubuntu machine to control all four computers (two Ubuntu's, one Windows, one Mac). When I move the mouse off the right side of the Ubuntu laptop's screen, it appears on the screen of my Windows computer.

QuickSynergy simplifies the Synergy interface. Synergy takes a little while to figure out because all of the connections between computers are made from the command line in a somewhat cryptic fashion. QuickSynergy is a GUI, thereby simplifying the process of connecting your computers.

To install QuickSynergy, just go to a command prompt and type:

sudo apt-get install quicksynergy

I recommend using a Linux machine as the host, and setting up Windows and OSX machines as clients. Setting up the host is the hard part and it is easiest to do in Linux. For more info, visit the QuickSynergy project page.

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