How to Use Synergy

I remember reading about Synergy a while ago and now I have a chance to use it. I’ve been working on a Linux server so I can try out some web apps such as Opengroupware. Both computers are at my desk and I was annoyed with having to switch keyboards. Plus, I grabbed the wrong one half the time.

The documentation was a little confusing at first but it’s working nicely now.

The Windows computer is my primary computer, the one that has the mouse and keyboard that I plan to use. I installed the Synergy program and started the configuration. In the first window that comes up, I selected the option to Share this computer’s keyboard and mouse. Then in the Configure button, I added both screens (fedora and safety2) and then created links between them. I believe if you don’t create the links, the cursor will not change screens. I also went into the AutoStart dialogue and set Synergy to start automatically when I log in.
Next, on the Linux computer, I installed Synergy with Synaptic. There are two executable files that are installed, synergyc and synergys. Because I wanted to control the Linux computer remotely, I used synergyc. I’m not completely sure if I had to, but I created a synergy.conf file in /etc in the following pattern from the Using Synergy page:

section: screens




section: links


right = screen2


left = screen1


The next step is to start Synergy on the Linux computer by running synergyc safety2 in a terminal. Everything should be working, but if not, there is a lot of information on the Synergy web page.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make the server and client run automatically as the server or client. It’s easy with the windows version and a little more involved for the Linux side of things. Instructions are available at the Synergy website under Autostarting.


Switching from PasswordSafe to Keepass

I have been using PasswordSafe for a while. It is a handy program and it works well. However, I decided to switch to KeePass to make things a little easier for Tara. PasswordSafe remembers the last open database and sometimes it was mine.

I didn’t really feel like cutting and pasting every field for all my passwords so I started looking at the import export functions for each program. There didn’t seem to be a common format. XML was promising but they didn’t use the same schema and I didn’t want to edit the xml file to match the proper format.

After a quick search, I found the following instructions.

  1. Use the Password Safe function to export to CSV file
    (File -> Export To -> Plain Text)
  2. Import the text file into KeePass
    (File->Import From->PWSafe v2 TXT file)

This process sort of worked. All of the passwords were imported but some of the names were screwed up and the groups were not imported correctly. I think that happened because I was using version 3.04 of PasswordSafe and KeePass was expecting a version 2.x format to import. I currently have about 25 passwords and I had to fix 8 of them. Also, the url wasn’t put in the proper spot. It was in the notes section instead of the url entry. Despite the importing glitches, it was still quicker than copy/pasting every field for each entry.

For those of you who are more worried about security than I am, you know this is a very insecure method to transfer passwords. For others, you may wish to export the (unencrypted) text file to a Truecrypt partition and/or use Eraser on the text file once you’re finished with it. And don’t do this on a public computer. You never know who might find your passwords.