Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Some tips on local display of networked machines Network
With these tools in your arsenal you can glue any two systems together. The edge of one display rolls to the one next to it, and you only use one keyboard and mouse. The nice thing with this setup is that, unlike two monitors on one system, the two systems actually run independently (CPU, disk) and can be a mixture of Windows, OS X and Unix.

The first priority was to be able to use my iBook sitting across the room from my Wintel box, so I grabbed a VNC server for OS X and the relevant client for windows. Nice enough, but the redraws even on a LAN suck. So I moved the iBook over next to the 21" LCD, and avoided redraw issues by using them separately. But I still can't get used to the trackpad and moving from one to the other was a physical context switch.

Knowing about an old X windows tool called x2x, I managed to find win2vnc, which is a neat Windows VNC client that makes the edge of my desktop "attach" to the VNC server on the iBook. There are no redraws, since the iBook draws the video locally and I can use my same keyboard and mouse. Smiles all around!

The Mac equivlant of win2vnc is called osx2x, which is described as:
osx2x is a small Mac OS X application that lets you control other machines running either an X11 server or a VNC server using your mac's mouse and keyboard. So if you happen to have a mac and either an X Windows machine or a amchine running VNC on your desk you only need to use a single keyboard and mouse!
I haven't actually used osx2x, only win2vnc, but provide the above since most readers are likley Mac-centric. I also haven't tried this with the firmware hack on the iBook (support for higher rez external monitor and the built-in LCD at the same time) to give three displays from two computers but it should work.

The only issue I've noticed is that my mouse wheel doesn't work on the Mac side. Not sure if this is a client or server issue.
  • Currently 1.00 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (3 votes cast)

Some tips on local display of networked machines | 13 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Some tips on local display of networked machines' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Some tips on local display of networked machines
Authored by: signal15 on Jul 01, '04 12:18:56PM

The scroll wheel issue is a problem with the client. It does not understand mouse buttons 4 and 5. It would be trivial to add support for it.

I ran into this issue about 3 years ago, I can't believe they haven't added it yet.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Some tips on local display of networked machines
Authored by: rufo on Jul 02, '04 10:48:14AM

If you head into the Win2VNC forums, there's a patched version you can download that has scroll wheel support. It's what I'm using now.

The only problem I have is that Windows-key events (aka the Command key) aren't picked up and passed along. I've downloaded the source code, and might try and hack it in there, but apparently the Windows key requires some low-level filter to be installed in some Windows command queue, and I haven't quite worked out the kinks yet.

At any rate, the scroll wheel works. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Some tips on local display of networked machines
Authored by: MartySells on Jul 03, '04 02:07:58AM
I was the original submitter of the hint and was surprized it didn't get published. Guess Rob's pretty busy. :)

The modified Win2VNC client with wheel support is at - I thought I mentioned it in the original submission but I had a few different drafts.

Anyway, I just discovered something GREAT! In re-reading this thread on the win2vnc forum I just got ALT-tab (Apple-Tab) working by simply RTFMing. The patch requires you to have Scroll Lock turned on. Without scroll lock turned on if you hit ALT-tab when on the slave system very wierd things happen but with it turned on everything's great! My boss reports that window apps that force a window into focus (like the chat client Trillian) can also mess VNC up.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Some tips on local display of networked machines
Authored by: rhowell on Jul 01, '04 01:03:53PM
Screen Savers had an episode where they featured a free, open-source product called Synergy. From it's web page:

"Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own display."

I think the idea is that it sends only the keyboard and mouse signals across the network, so it doesn't suffer from video latency. You can hook up Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux computers together.

This is a nice alternative if you have the room for a monitor from each system, side by side.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Using command keys...
Authored by: jtraynham on Jul 01, '04 03:10:18PM

In testing this out, I'm using osx2x, but I am not able to get key commands to work on the remote computer. I am able to use my mouse and keyboard on the remote computer, just not do things like close a window via the keyboard. Is this expected behavior or am I missing something somewhere?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Using command keys...
Authored by: Felix_the_Mac on Jul 01, '04 04:20:45PM

I was having a similar problem this week.
I set up my PowerBook at home on a broadband connection and running OSXvnc server. I then logged in to it from a window XP machine at work using ssh & vnc.

Screen redraws were slooow, but the main problem was that I could not use any action requiring the Apple key.

I presume this is because a PC keyboard does not have a key which sends the character code representing the Apple key. Is this correct?

Does any one know how to imitate the Apple key when using VNC on a PC client?

BTW... this 2 monitor trick sounds great. I'll give it a try!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Using command keys...
Authored by: jtraynham on Jul 01, '04 05:09:03PM

I could see where there might be a problem from Win to Mac, but I'm using mac for both. (A G4 desktop and an iBook - with the desktop being the main machine.)

When I do a command-h to try to hide something on the remote machine, it just hides osx2x. However, if I hit control and a key, the remote machine will get a system beep since there is no key equivalent for the command.

Other than this one gripe, I love this idea. I use multiple monitors on my machines already, so this fits right in with the way I work.

[ Reply to This | # ]
VNC command keys and mouse emulation...
Authored by: rkchang on Jul 02, '04 12:42:53PM

I saw this hint yesterday and decided to try it time trying VNC, and now I'm hooked! I have noticed, however, a few key and mouse idiosyncracies:

Win2k-to-Mac control, using OSXVNC as server on my iBook, and RealVNC (clent + server; Picture-In-Picture control) and Win2VNC (client only; side-by-side control) on my Win2k desktop:

  • Ctrl acts as Ctrl on both
  • Alt acts as Command on both
  • Scroll wheel only works w/ RealVNC
  • Alt-Tab (or Command-Tab) for application switching works for neither (defaults to Windows task switching)

Mac-to-Win2K control, using Chicken of the VNC (PIP control) and osx2x (side-by-side control):

  • Ctrl acts as Ctrl on both
  • Command acts as Alt only in Chicken
  • So far, no way to emulate Alt in osx2x (at least none that I've found)
  • So far, found no way of emulating 2-button mouse w/ trackpad
  • Scroll-wheel emulation on the trackpad (via uControl works for neither
  • Once again, Alt-Tab (or Command-Tab) switching works for neither

PS- for both of the PIP controls, there are the obvious redraw lags.

PPS- I'm typing this out with Safari sitting in my VNC window on my Win desktop. I guess this is probably the closest I'll see Windows to using Safari...oh well, I guess one can dream :-)

"I have seen the evils of procrastination, and I vow to change my ways tomorrow."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Synergy cool but no OS X port
Authored by: rooter on Jul 01, '04 05:28:13PM
Synergy is a great app... I find it faster than win2vnc. It lets you use a scroll wheel and will even copy and paste between computers. Another cool feature is the ability to lock which computer you are working on by pressing the scroll lock key.

Unfortunately it's only available for Windows, Linux and Solaris, but, according to their todo page, an OS X port is on the way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Experimental OS X port
Authored by: jspivack on Jul 01, '04 05:48:26PM
on their downloads page they have a pair of experimental OS X ports...

[ Reply to This | # ]
Experimental OS X port
Authored by: SiliconJesus on Jul 02, '04 07:13:30PM

Just tried the experimental port and it works great between my Windows boxen and my Mac. I did have to compile it from source code though, the downloadable binary would seg fault on me every time. OS X 10.3 may be the culprit but it's easy to compile ( ./configure then ./make ) and thats it.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: John Kiniston on Jul 01, '04 09:50:49PM


I use Teleport at work with two mac's and it works great! no X11 or VNC needed.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Some tips on local display of networked machines
Authored by: aMacUzur on Mar 23, '05 02:43:26PM
If your "remote" system isn't really remote but is sitting on your desk along side your other system(s) and all the systems have their own monitors, you might give KMremoteControl a try. I've been using it for a long time and it works great!

[ Reply to This | # ]