Synergy is a pretty neat little software utility that acts as a “KM” switch, where K = Keyboard and M = Mouse. Normally folks use hardware KVM switches to control two or more computers using one keyboard, mouse, and video display. In this case, software is used to control two PC’s each with their own video head.

My set up is a bit strange so it’s not quite as stable as I’d like, so I do have a traditional HW KVM (I’ll review what I have sometime soon) for those times when synergy fails. What is difficult in my situation is that one of my stations is VPN’d in for work, while the other is a home PC. Since I don’t have a static IP for my DSL connection, I 1st had to setup dyndns so that my IP is findable via DNS. I then had to set up a port forward for synergy on my router to always send the synergy port to my PC that acts as the server. Then my VPN’d box is a client of the server, and uses the dyndns host name to reach it.

The reason this is a bit flaky is that all the packets that go back and forth are now going across the Internet to my VPN end point rather than just on the local network. Or if I’m not VPN’d in and don’t change the synergy configuration, the packets are still not passed locally.

About 80% of the time this works fine. Every once in a while it gets a little slow when working on the VPN box, and then every once in a while it fails totally. So I do have the hardware switch I can use.

Overall, though, I think synergy is great! I wish I could be VPN’d in and have the synergy packets flow locally, but that is not possible with our VPN s/w.

One thing that is great about a s/w KM vs. a h/w version is that you can actually cut and paste between PC’s!

3 thoughts on “Synergy

  1. I love Synergy. My wheel mouse works perfectly between my Windows box (Synergy server) and my Linux box (client) and it’s been fast and very stable once getting it configured correctly. I do get the occasional hang if the explorer shell freezes in Windows, but since I never have to reboot my linux box, I never have to use the KVM switch anymore. If the Synergy client in Linux isn’t connected, it sends out requests until it connects to the server. Whenever my Windows XP box reboots (the Synergy server is in the startup menu) the mouse and keyboard works on both of them right away! Copy/paste is a very useful feature between systems and we use it often. If only it supported file drag-n-drop between systems using your favorite (configurable) supported protocol. NFS, SMB, FTP. That would make this software even better. Overall, definitely worth using if it suits your hardware setup. Plus, you can’t beat the price! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Synergy – My New Holy Grail « Mintz’s Words

  3. Excellent! I was quite frustrated being unable to continue using Synergy when one of my boxes was VPN’d in to work. This solved my problems with no fuss.

    The solution I had been using was to have the VPN’d box live within a VMWare virtual machine, which worked, but was not ideal due to the overhead and start-up time.

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