How to Auto-Start Synergy Correctly on MacOS 10.5 (Leopard)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Synergy is a wonderful tool: it lets you run multiple computers on your desktop, but use a single keyboard/mouse. The mouse cursor moves between screens seamlessly. Configured correctly, you even have a unified clipboard to enable copy/paste between machines, even running different operating systems. I have two Linux desktops and a Mac laptop on my desk and Synergy is a life-saver.

Configuring synergy and getting it to auto-launch correctly is not especially simple: the synergy autostart manual lists three ways, none of which worked for me to get the clipboard working. But I found, hidden in the Synergy bug database, a configuration script which solves the problem perfectly on MacOS 10.5 (Leopard):

  1. In a terminal, become root: sudo su -
  2. emacs /Library/LaunchAgents/org.gnu.Synergy.plist
  3. I have synergy at /builds/synergy-1.3.1. My mac client is named dupre. My Linux server is named gabrieli. Adjust these values accordingly:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
    <plist version="1.0">
      <true />

Log out and log back in to get everything started. This will launch a synergy client for the initial login desktop. At login this client will be killed, and a new client will be started for the user’s desktop. Note: LaunchAgents are new in MacOS 10.5. This technique won’t work in earlier versions.

MacOS 10.5 “Spaces” Question

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

I’ve seen articles about the new “Places” feature in MacOS 10.5. I’ve even seen videos. But I still have one question that is make-or-break for me: is this per-window or per-app? Can I put one Firefox window in my “communcation” place and one in my “development” place? If not, this feature is worthless.

Of course, the most annoying thing about MacOS in general is how app-centric it is. I don’t usually care what application a window belongs to: I care what logical task it belongs to. This is one of the reasons I still find the Windows desktop most usable, for all of its flaws.

Update: it’s “Spaces”, not “Places”. Thanks, blogosphere.