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README.md

touchstream - mouse/keyboard network sharing utility (C) Michel Pollet buserror@gmail.com

Introduction

touchstream is a program that allows you to share a keyboard & mouse over a number of machines, on a LAN, typicaly.

Imagine having a mac and a linux machine, with their own screens; you can use the Mac mouse and keyboard on the linux box too by moving the mouse pointer to a max screen edge, and it starts moving on the linux screen.

Also, the clipboard is exchanged as you switch back & forth.

Rationale

The goal of touchstream was to replace synergy -- at least on my desk. Synergy has various issues, notably on the bloat department; "powertop" flags it as one of the most used/busy process on the machine, even tho it technicaly hasn't a lot to do, furthermore the codebase is bloated too, and the implementation uses countless locks, mutexes and other distasteful things that adds a lot of overhead, and that one doesn't strictly need if designing the execution path properly.

The other reason is that synergy stopped working on my configuration recently for me, and I realised about it's code bloat when I went to try to fix it.

Obviously, quite a bit of the platform specific bits of touchstream are copied straight out of synergy's source code, and not only deserve the credit, but also share their GPL licence. In many cases, the code has been entirely reworked tho, and I haven't taken care of copying the attribution and copyrights for individual snipets.

The actualy "core" of touchstream is entirely original, and thats why the files uses my generic GPL header bits.

Status

Anyway, touchstream is C99, doesn't use a single mutex, and works for now on OSX as a server (read, the screen that has the keyboard and mouse) and as a client of a recent xorg.

It also can work without a "client" process by talking directly to remote xorg servers, as long as 1) the server allows tcp connections, and 2) you have disabled access control (xhost +).

Clearly it lacks some of the features synergy has (windows support, non-latin keyboard support etc) but it also a LOT simpler, and uses a fraction of the resources.

Requirements

In order to build touchstream for your platform you will need X11 headers and a basic C toolchain.

Mac OS X

For OS X 10.14 you need:

  • XQuartz
  • Xcode command line tools

Linux

  • Compiles on ubuntu 16.04 with the following packages installed:
    • gcc (build-essential)
    • libx11-dev
    • x11proto-core-dev
    • libxtst-dev
    • libxext-dev

Building

With the prerequisites installed you should be able to simply run make.

Usage

Running touchstream.bin

Common command arguments

-v verbose output (repeat for more verbose) -D daemonize

Server

-s run touchstream server

# specify -s followed by a resolvable name for the server.
# Use the same name when firing up the client (see below)
touchstream.bin -s server-name.local

Client

-c run couchstream client

# Specify the server name and direction like this
# -c server-name=[left|right|top|bottom]
# screen to attach to this client.  E.g. if Client is left of
# server then specify "left" after the equal:

touchstream.bin -c server-name.local=left