Share input devices between computers with Barrier

Hand in Hand

© Lead Image Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

© Lead Image Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Article from Issue 224/2019

Barrier is a Synergy fork that lets you work with one keyboard and mouse pair on multiple Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows computers.

Attaching two monitors to the same computer offers some very significant benefits for a user who works on a computer all day. However, a two-monitor configuration is not always the right solution for the task. In some cases, what you really need is two separate computers. For instance, you might want to run a Windows and a Linux system side by side without contending with the complications of virtualization. Software developers, sys admins, graphic artists, and documentation specialists all still face scenarios where it still makes sense to put two computers on the same desk.

One of the biggest irritations about running two desktop computers is the clutter of all the devices. Two complete systems means not just two monitors but also two keyboards and two mice.

Hardware solutions for sharing devices have existed for years. KVM switches (the acronym stands for Keyboard/Video/Mouse) make it possible to use two or more computers with a single set of input and output devices. More recently, users have turned to less expensive software solutions. Many Linux users are familiar with Synergy [1], a commercial, software-based device sharing tool that is available for $29-$39.


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