Ok, so i’m kind of a noob at this Linux madness, but here goes: This week, I set up Synergy between my Macbook (running Leopard) and my home brew Linux machine (running Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex).

For those of you who have no idea what I just spewed out with my keyboard, Synergy lets you share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems. Its actually ridiculously seemless, just like running dual monitors on one machine.

So, lets get down to the How-to. FIrst, we’ll configure the Mac, as that will act as my server. This means we will be using the mouse/keyboard connected to this machine. For this, I downloaded a nifty tool called SynergyKM, which adds the Synergy setup to your system preferences, as well as displays the connection status in the menu bar.

synergyKM general tab

Once you’ve installed it, run SynergyKM through the System Preferences window. Under the General tab, hit the “share my keyboard and mouse” radio button.

synergykm setup

Next you’ll then need to add the screen names of the computers you will be using. These names will be the host names of the said machines.

To find the host name of a Mac, open the sharing preference pane in System Prefs. Whatever you see in the Computer Name section is what you’ll name that computer in Synergy. For the Linux machine, just run the command hostname. This can be run on the Mac as well, but may be appended with the line .local.

Finally, make sure the screens are in the order you want them to be. I have my Mac on the right, but its your preference. Just drag the screens and pick your poison.

Its basically the same deal on the linux box, only instead of synergyKM, I used a program called QuickSynergy.

To install it, just follow the usual command line procedure:

make install

You will need the GTK 2.0 and libglade-2.0 development packges installed on your computer in order to achieve a successful compilation.

QuickSynergy on linux

Next, slect the Client tab on the QuickSynergy main window. Fill in the field with the server’s (in this case the mac) IP address/hostname and the click Start. It may take a couple seconds to kick off, but you should be able to rock the mac mouse and keyboard on both computers now!

Finally, synergy by default will not run on startup on the Linux machine. In order to do so, go to system/preferences/sessions. Add a new startup program. Call it whatever you want, and make it call the following command, just replace the x’s with the server ip:

synergyc -f xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

In case that was all total freaking gibberish to you try the video or links below, or just comment on this post. I’ll be happy to help you if I can:


Special thanks to my boy Tomas for showing me the ways of the Synergy Ninja.