I recently found this neat little piece of software called Synergy that allows you to control multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse. I was a little skeptical at first, but I am really glad I decided to test it out because I was more than pleased.
Synergy is free and open source software (FOSS) that basically requires only a LAN connection. The program itself basically uses a NetBIOS like name to determine which computers to connect to and you can set that name within the program itself. Also, it uses a client server architecture, where one computer acts as the server and the others act as the clients. Once it is all setup, you can move your mouse seamlessly from one PC to another, even using multiple monitors on each PC. As you would imagine though, you can’t drag windows across multiple machines as you would have hardware and software issues, but it does have a shared clipboard (though mainly for text). This even lets you share the mouse between different operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac OS).
Setup is pretty simple. You install the application on the workstations you want to use, which takes a matter of seconds and you’re ready to configure.
The GUI is fairly simple as you see below. I’m using this particular computer as the so called “server”, as you can see I have selected the share this computer’s keyboard and mouse (server) option. On the other computer you would select the first option and type the other computers host name which can be configured under the advanced tab.
You will then have to click the configure button to tell the program where each computer is located. For example, you have to tell it computer1 is to the left of computer2 so it knows which screen to switch to when you hit the edge of the screen. In this particular case I have also reversed that to say computer2 is to the right of computer1.
All you need to do then is start the Synergy that is configured as the server, and then start the client second. If you have configured your settings correctly, then everything should work. Enjoy!