Synergy is one of those DotCom era buzzwords that you still occasionally hear from an out of touch executive giving a bad presentation. Synergy also happens to be a piece of software that has significantly contributed to the clean up of my desk here at work.

I work for a hosting company and need a lot of screen real estate so I have a workstation powering 2 monitors. I also have a secondary workstation running Ubuntu Linux and my personal laptop. That’s a lot of computers for one desk to hold (3 in case you weren’t sure what Linux was). At any rate, that means no less than 3 separate keyboards and mice to use all of these workstations. That leaves little to no room for just about anything else and since I love to stack, this was unacceptable.

One of my co-workers tipped me off about some software called Synergy. Synergy is a ethernet based virtual KVM. KVM stands for keyboard, video, and mouse and is merely a way to run the cables to a big black box that handles switching duty for 2 or more computers. The cables alone for a KVM almost make it not worth the added benefit. Couple that with the technical issues involved in using one and the single monitor limitation and it’s just a big pain. Synergy to the rescue.

Simply install Synergy on all of your machines and setup the display links and Synergy handles the rest. It allows you to seamless use one keyboard and mouse connected to a host computer, but have that keyboard and mouse control any number of additional computers with no additional hardware. The configuration is a bit confusing as you have to explicitly define the physical relationship between all of the monitors, but it gives you the flexibility to setup your workspace in any way you like.

I’ll devote an upcoming post to the full installation and configuration of Synergy for those that are interested. In the meantime, you can get to the Synergy homepage right here.