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2012-08-12

Using Mac as the primary machine and fixing Synergy


I had this zen moment the other day, and realized that there is very little reason that's keeping me from using a Mac as my primary machine right now. Although I had my mac up on the second monitor, I realized that I was using it less, as it was not connected to my primary screen.

So, I swapped my Mac and PC. Now, my mac is connected solely to the primary screen in front of me (Samsung SyncMaster 245BW at 1980x1200) with a displayPort to DVI adapter. Unfortunately, that meant that my PC had to be connected using a VGA as that was the only other input. 

My PC is also connected to the 20" ViewSonic VP2030b (1600x1200) on my right via DVI.  I have dual ATI Radeon HD 5700 in CrossFire setup (4xDVI out), so I would like to get a monitor that supports dual DVI input but there does not seem to be many options out there that I like. In fact, I like Dell UltraSharp U2412 the most at this point but still trying to decide.

Anyway,  I did not want to use multiple keyboards and mouses anymore, so I wanted to try the latest version of Synergy (v1.4.9 as of this writing). I used Synergy at work on 10.7 for some time but quickly had to give up on it when I upgraded one of my Macs to 10.8. 

I set it up so that My Windows 7 x64 would be the 'server' and Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion as the 'client'. Setting it up is not really difficult, there is a single synergy.conf file that has to be common to both client and server (see mine below). 

The biggest trouble was that back and forward buttons of my mouse stopped working on Mac side. That was really annoying when browsing web sites and after some google'ing I found out that this was an issue that has been experienced by several others.

Some posts in that google code link put me into the right direction and after some trial and error, I figured out that using 'Windows + [' key was like hitting back button key, and 'Windows + ]' key was acting as forward key.

I solved the problem by mapping mousebutton(4) to keystroke(Meta+BracketL) and mouse(button5) to keystroke(Meta+BracketR). The whole config file is shown below:

section: screens
        AHPC:
                halfDuplexCapsLock = false
                halfDuplexNumLock = false
                halfDuplexScrollLock = false
                xtestIsXineramaUnaware = false
                switchCorners = none
                switchCornerSize = 0
        AHMac:
                halfDuplexCapsLock = false
                halfDuplexNumLock = false
                halfDuplexScrollLock = false
                xtestIsXineramaUnaware = false
                switchCorners = none
                switchCornerSize = 0
end

section: aliases
end

section: links
        AHPC:
                right = AHMac
        AHMac:
                left = AHPC
end

section: options
        mousebutton(4)=keystroke(Meta+BracketL)
        mousebutton(5)=keystroke(Meta+BracketR)
        relativeMouseMoves = false
        screenSaverSync = false
        win32KeepForeground = true
        switchCorners = none
        switchCornerSize = 0
end

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