Extend your desktop and share your mouse with Synergy

How many of you work on multiple machines? Personally, I have a desktop and two laptops. The downside of multiple machines is the need for multiple mouses (mice?) and keyboards. In fact it’s not so much the space that’s required for the input devices as it is the constant need to switch between them. I have known software developers that find even having to reach for a mouse has a negative impact on their productivity, how much worse is it to have to reach for two different mice?

So, I was explaining this to a friend and he suggested I google it (what a novel idea). So I did, and I found an excellent solution to my problem. The Synergy Project is open source software that allows you to move your mouse between screens and use your keyboard to input to multiple machines.

I downloaded and set it up on my two Windows 7 laptops, and I’m glad to report that after a few small network and firewall issues, mostly stemming from my wireless router’s AP setting, it seems to work extremely well. The setup, configuration and troubleshooting/error reporting is not as slick and as I’ve come to expect from the current crop of commercial apps, but it wasn’t bad either and I’m certainly not complaining.

If you want to extend your Windows, Mac and Linux desktops across multiple machines I would recommend giving Synergy a try.