Synergy is a Free (as in speech) Open Source software KVM switch for keyboard and mouse. I went looking for a replacement for the old Windows only software I had used previously and Synergy seemed to fit the bill. After looking around the their website (http://www.synergy-project.org), I decided to give it a go.
Price: $10 USD
Considering the cost of an additional keyboard and mouse, plus the added desk space and inconvenience of swapping between input devices, this price point is dead-on. If it had been higher, I may not have given it a chance. For the features it adds in addition to the convenience factor it’s a steal.
- Works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
- Share one keyboard and mouse between up to 15 computers (more is technically possible, but c’mon, 15 computers at one desk seems like a stretch)
- Share clipboard contents between each of the computers
- Drag and Drop files between Windows and OS X (Linux in the future, I hope?)
- Encryption to keep things secure
This was a complete breeze to install and configure on both systems I currently have this installed on (Windows and Mint 17). For Windows it’s a standard EXE installer and for Mint it was a simple download and install of the x64 .Deb. Absolutely hassle-free.
The configuration was the only area I had a slight hiccup, but it turned out it was my lack of understanding and no fault of the program itself. Initially I had a hard time getting the Client system (my Linux box) to connect successfully to the Server (my Windows box). I had added the client system name to the server, but didn’t realize that I had to click “Apply” in the main Synergy window beneath the “Configure Server” window. I was getting the following:
WARNING: failed to connect to server: server refused client with our name
After clicking on the “Apply” button everything started working correctly.
The actual use of the program itself is dead simple. Synergy enables your normal shortcuts for copy & paste to work across systems. One sticking point I have is that I really would like files to be copy-paste-able between Linux and Windows. I’ve got a workaround for it, but it’d be ideal to have that for Linux boxes and not only for Windows / Mac. I’m unsure if there is a technical hurdle to this or just low demand for it at this point, but I’ll voice my hopes that it’s a feature coming soon.
I’m extremely pleased with Synergy so far. The $10 USD price for it includes lifetime updates and support. I like my software free, but to me, this application is worth every penny at this price point.
I’m giving Synergy a big thumbs-up. It has helped me streamline my work between machines.