Feb 042012

Article by Giuseppe Sanna

If your desk is like mine: you have multiple PCs and Laptops spread over two square meters, but do not worry I have the solution for you!
Install Synergy and you’ll just say goodbye, once and for all to the mess!

This software, which I emphasize is cross-platform, allows you to control multiple PCs or laptops with just one mouse and one keyboard. Basically this software allows you to have two monitors on your desk and allow you to switch from the left monitor, to the second monitor just by moving the mouse out of the right border of the first one and vice versa.
This sounds simple … but be aware that we are not talking about two monitors attached to the same PC, but two different PCs even with different OS such as Ubuntu and Windows.

Today we will see how to configure this software, with two PCs, with the host (or rather, the head) on an Ubuntu and the client (host dependent) a Windows.

The first thing to do is install the software. For windows you are forced to go at the dedicated link and then run the installation Wizard, this does not happen to Ubuntu or other Linux distro. Just give the command that usually you use to install packages on your distro and the name “synergy”.
In the case of Ubuntu, with “sudo” that gives us permission as superuser, you have to write in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install synergy

Once that you have performed the installation, you just need to decide the host PC, or “the head”, and what is the client! In this case, we will consider as Host the PC with Ubuntu installed. Let’s edit the configuration file!

Let’s move in “ /etc/synergy.conf .” In the case of Windows, you can just go into the installation folder and search for the file with the same name. Configuring Ubuntu as Host, open the file with a text editor and start to get busy …
I want to clarify one thing, what is preceded by the # is a comment that do not affect the configuration, but it’s useful to take notes in the file:

#Definition of the PC
section: screens
# How they are dislocated
section: links
         left = WindowsXPClient
         right = UbuntuHost

The meaning of this code it ‘s quite intuitive, but let’s clear up a bit. In the first part, included between the first “section:” and the first “end”, we find the names of the two PC. UbuntuHost and WindowsXPClient are the names which derive directly from your operating system. In short, they must be the true hostname of the PC.
In the second section, you tell to the software how it should behave. Let’s see this in detail


         right = WindowsXPClient
This means that the client, WindowsXPClient is located to the right of Ubuntu and the same thing it’s also repeated in the second section.
Now that we have configured the behavior of the monitor, what to do? Nothing easier than sending two commands In the server PC, in this case the Ubuntu PC, we give:

synergys -f --config /etc/synergy.conf

And on the windows client give from a shell the command:

synergic [IP of the Ubuntu]

If, for example, your Ubuntu has the IP ( you can discover the IP number from the Ubuntu terminal with the command ifconfig), you are going to write:


What I reported is simply a basic configuration. But how about doing other nice changes to the configuration file? Who knows, maybe you can also make your monitor takes off their feet and moves by itself! You never know …

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  One Response to “Synergy! as many PCs as you like with just one keyboard and one mouse!”

  1. Wow! Thank you so much, this is really neat =)

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