November 14, 2012

Workflow sharing with Synergy

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 4:33 am

It has been a while since I’ve posted around here and the reasons have been entirely mundane — got a job, moved to a different country and lost track of everything open-source during the transition.

However, open-source is out there and every once a while you’re bound to stumble across gems that make life easier (and fun) no matter which line of work you are in and that’s exactly what happened to me today. Let me admit first, I have a fetish for multiple screens. If it was up to me I would have a circle of screens and sit inside them all day long, just to make revolving chairs lot more exciting. Take that, 3D!

Anyways, the issue with multiple screens is not only having enough video outputs on your graphic card(s), but also the sharing of resources. I want three different machines with different processors, hard-disks, heck even different operating systems to share their I/O devices. One option would be the KVM switches, but that would restrict me to only one “active” machine at a time, plus the switching button is too much of a hindrance in the work flow. Aristotle famously claimed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, then cometh Synergy:

Synergy in action
(Click on the thumbnail for larger version.)

Three different machines sharing the keyboard, mouse and clipboard across five different screens and it even works across different platforms! Granted, there are some issues with the configuration which you have to take care about (especially on Windows 7+ platforms with UAC) but once it gets going it becomes one of those cute plus practical toys that make you wonder how you ever lived without them.

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  1. Look who’s back :D

    Comment by Muhammad Ali — November 14, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  2. Windows 7 + platforms…:-)

    Comment by Sheharbano — November 14, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  3. kaam to phir bhi nahi karna :)

    Comment by Zaafar Ahmed — November 14, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  4. I looked at Synergy when I was in US, but never had enough dough to buy more than one screen. However, I hope you donate more than the $1 they are asking for keeping up Synergy!

    Comment by Affan — November 21, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  5. man, get SLI or crossfire gfx cards and you can up to 4, though I see no point in having 4 screens, but thats me. Isn’t it better to get 2 huge screens? Maybe 40″ ?

    Comment by Deaq — December 1, 2012 @ 2:28 am

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