Stop jumping from one keyboard and mouse combination to another every time you switch computers. Control multiple computers using just one set – without the need for extra hardware. QuickSynergy for Linux and Mac, working with Synergy for Windows, means there’s no combination of systems that can’t be controlled this quickly and easily. If there’s more than one computer on your desk then you need to check this out.
Multiple monitors are intuitive – you move your mouse from one screen to another and simply continue controlling. But what if your desk has multiple computers on it? Can you move your mouse from one computer to another, then work on that? And what about copy/paste functionality? That, as it turns out, can be just as simple as using multiple monitors – even if you’re using different operating systems.
We’ve shown you how Synergy can bring your computer systems together, but that program totally lacks a GUI for Linux and Mac OS X users – leaving users of both with with the need to create a text file in order to get things up and running. QuickSynergy brings a GUI to those operating systems, and in it’s actually a far easier GUI to use than the Windows one.
Connecting Your Screens
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: to use QuickSynergy, you’ll need all computers to be on the same network. WiFi or wired doesn’t matter, so long as you’re connected to the same router.
The main interface for QuickSynergy is two screens: one for sharing, one for using. If you’ve used TightVNC or any VNC service, you’re going to be confused by the terminology. Don’t be.
Here’s the trick: what you’re “sharing” here is not your screen, but your mouse and keyboard. So use the Sharing tab on the computer connected to the mouse and keyboard you want to use. Here’s how it looks:
Simply type the name of the machines you want to control, using the box positioned appropriately (so if you want to control a screen to the right of the computer doing the sharing, you should use the text box to the right).
Setting up the server is even simpler – you need only type the IP address of the computer with the mouse and keyboard you want to use.
If you can’t connect, check your firewall settings.
The process is a little confusing, sure, but try a couple times and you’ll get things working. And there’s nothing confusing about using Synergy once it’s set up. You’ll be able to move your mouse simply from one screen to another – it’s like the ultimate KVM. But it’s even better than a KVM, because copy and pasting text is supported. In many ways it’s as though your two computers have merged into one.
Compared To Synergy
There’s a version of Synergy for Mac and Linux already. Why use QuickSynergy at all? Well, as I mentioned, the Linux and Mac versions of Synergy require the creation of text files for configuration. That’s fine for tech-savvy users with motivation, but for less-savvy and/or lazy users QuickSynergy simplifies the process.
I have to say, QuickSynergy is much easier to use than the Windows GUI for Synergy itself. I mean, look at this thing:
What’s a “Link”? It’s used to determine a screen’s location – something made much easier by the design of QuickSynergy. I had to read the documentation just to figure out what everything does.
QuickSynergy gave me no such problems – I simply set everything up and was good to go. Compare that with the Share screen above.
Wondering where to find this application? Mac users can download Quicksynergy from Google Code. Linux users will find the source there, but should check out their distro’s package manager to install – it’s just simpler.
Debian/Ubuntu users can click here to install Quicksynergy.
Wondering what similar software exists for the job? Here are a few we’ve profiled:
- Input director shares mouse and keyboard between Windows computers, but there’s no Mac or Linux version.
- Sharemouse is a simple tool to share inputs between Mac and Windows computers, and is arguably easier to set up than QuickSynergy:
There’s no Linux version of Sharemouse, however, so this is only for users of non-FOSS systems.
What tool do you like to use for sharing a mouse and keyboard with multiple machines? Share your thoughts in the comments below, along with any possible uses for this technology you can think of. Looking forward to reading your thoughts as always.
Image Credits: Black keyboard Via Shutterstock