Open source software never ceases to amaze me

I have just installed the most amazing piece of software on both my work laptop and my home PC. Whats makes this software even more impressive is that it is not just free, but also open source. The software I am referring to is Synergy.

This fantastic piece of software allows multiple computers, each with their own display, to share a keyboard and mouse without needing any additional hardware as its all done in software.

I couldn’t believe not only how easy this was to setup but also how efficiently it works. Anyone with a dual headed display will be familiar with moving the cursor off one screen and have it appear on another. Now imagine if you could do that, not only across screens on the same computer, but also across different machines running different operating systems.

If you haven’t come across it before, have multiple computers on a desk and don’t want to buy a KVM switch, then you must check this out.

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4 thoughts on “Open source software never ceases to amaze me

  1. Amazing how easy you can be impressed. I am too sorry to say, but 99% of all open-source software are blatant ripp-offs and cheap plagiarism. Synergy is more or less MaxiVista or Multiplicity or Kavoom KVM, etc.

    Other examples:

    – Open Office looks like Office 97
    – FireFox seems to peek too much over to Opera
    – Insert any popular OSS here

    Cheerz,
    Farrin

  2. However, do you not think that having the open source community replicating commercial products is in the end-users advantage.

    At the end of the day, technology keeps advancing and by having the open source community constantly pushing the boundaries of their open source software, it means that the commercial vendors must develop and innovate even more to ensure that their product stays ahead of the free versions and offers that value-add to their customers.

    You have proved my point entirely by referring to the likeness between OpenOffice and Office 97. Office 97 is now 4 versions old (2000, XP, 2003 & 2007). Therefore, for the people that are happy to stick with the functionality that was provided 4 versions ago, OpenOffice is a good option for them. However, if they want the new whizz bang features, then they will be willing to purchase a later version from Microsoft.

    I think open source provides a valuable purpose in the market.

    Regards,
    Paul

  3. Pingback: Identity, Security & Me » Blog Archive » Response to a comment I received

  4. @Farrin – You are right, 99% of all software is derived from or inspired by other software. But your examples are all wrong.

    Synergy is similar to Multiplicity but not the others (look at what they do). However, Synergy was written before 2002, and inspired by the prior abilities of X. Multiplicity was not written until 2005, and is a poor copy at best, and will not run on many of the systems that Synergy will run on.

    Both MS Word and StarWriter/OOWriter (and later MS Office and StarOffice/OOo) were inspired by Bravo/Gypsy from the Xerox Star, and later developed to compete with WordPerfect – all common elements are ripoffs, but from other software.

    Mozilla (the Mosaic-Killa) Firefox also traces its roots back to long before Opera was thought of. In fact, Opera is somewhat of a newcomer, its first release being well after IE had begun the browser wars.

    I agree with Paul – Internet Explorer 7 exists because of Firefox, and is a start towards fixing the biggest single challenge for home users – using the web safely.

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