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Author Topic: In search of ... functional software kvm  (Read 3200 times)

barney

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In search of ... functional software kvm
« on: April 19, 2014, 07:53:29 PM »
Folk,

I'm pretty much stymied.  There were previous threads on this topic, but kinda old.

I've been using Input Director for quite a while, three (3) or four (4) years, I'd guess, maybe longer.  However, it has lately become very unreliable, and 'twould appear 'tis no longer supported by the developer.  

Recently bought Multiplicity, but after installation - apparently successful - it gives errors and quits.  The error messages flash so briefly that I cannot read them.  Product support seems non-existent, pretty shabby for a $40.00 product, methinks.

Synchronicity has never worked for me.

Windows without Borders seems questionable, from what I've read, too questionable to purchase a license for multiple machines.

Has anyone knowledge of a functional alternative?  I don't mind paying for it, but after being burned by Multiplicity, I'm loathe to buy a pig in a poke again.

I'm looking at three (3) laptops, each with a 2nd monitor attached.  Input Director worked well until about six (6) months ago, but has been losing connectivity more and more often.  Currently, two (2) boxes are Win7 Ultimate and one (1) is Win8.1.  (The problem existed prior to the Win8.1 box.)

Any recommendations?

40hz

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2014, 08:56:37 AM »
In the Windows world I've pretty much given up on soft KVMs for the reasons you've mentioned and gone over to using TeamViewer to RDP into whatever I want to remotely manage.

Seems kinda silly to go out to the net and then back in just to control a laptop sitting next to you. But that was the only 100% reliable and affordable (TV is "free for personal use") method I've identified to date. 

 :)

Shades

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 09:10:56 AM »
List of open-source/free solutions:
Synergy - this one I have used on and off over the years and works for me (even the configuration made sense, but I know that people were put off by that).
Okvm - this seems to be fork of Synergy.
Microsoft Garage: Mouse without borders - this one sounds somewhat familiar, but never tried it because of my success with Synergy.
Input director - tried this one when XP and 2003 machines were king of the hill, never liked it as much as Synergy.

List of commercial priced solutions:
KaVoom - I don't know this one at all.
MultiPlicity - I don't know this one at all, but it looks like it is for 32-bit Windows only.
ShareMouse - seems interesting but never tried it.
MaxiVista - this one I did try and it was better than Synergy, but cost was a huge influence in my decision at the time.

What I did notice is that you have to take a good look at the versions of Windows you are using and the ones supported by the software solution of your choice, because each solutions has it's own limitations. Ones that may be the cause of your problems.

Besides this, when you are using encrypted connections between PC's, make very sure that you are using (self-signed) certificates that do not have anything related to MD5 anymore. If you do very strange behavior is introduced after MS patch Tuesday in August 2013. That happened to me (made self-signed certificates for my own stuff a year or two ago) and I needed to roll out new certificates to be able to communicate with anything server related.

noblejoker

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 11:33:38 PM »
Mouse without Borders works perfectly for me
I have a HP home server and a desktop - plug server into VGA cable - switch monitor source and share kb&m
Works with laptop on vga too - so long as all on same network (cable or wifi)
It's free so worth a go
Highly recommend ticking the box that makes mouse cursor stay on screen until you hold control key so no accidental slides off screen
Matt from Australia

peter.s

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 08:24:27 AM »
I trialled several of those.
First try free Mouse without borders (MS Garage).
If it's not up to your expectations, try paid ShareMouse (Bartels; I can confirm it sets the standards here)

This being said, all such sw implies your pc's being connected, by network?
Or is there sw where there is no network connection, but some more "primitive" connection, perhaps even without the usual clipboard sharing (cs)?
Ok, cs is very helpful I agree, but...

These sw's (except for my asking if there might be alternative ones, doing it in another, more basic connection) prevent you from having a set-up in which NOT all your pc's  are connected to the web.

Hence my reminding you of the good old hardware kvm's, with physical relays; I suppose there is no way to access your private data on pc 2, from some web actor accessing pc 1?
And if you consider such a physical thing, let me tell you, before you buy, that those 30-40$ devices, often functionally identical to the 120$-and-up devices (speaking of 2-pc sets here, multi-pc sets can cost hundreds of dollars), have cheap relays which will quickly make you fear about the life time of the device in question, upon every switch.

Thus, there are several aspects to bear in mind, BEFORE deciding on your respective multi-pc set-up. Perhaps it's not that bad an idea to have 1 extra pc for the web, and then several pc's (if you really need them, concurrently), within a cable (not: air) network, with the (excellent) Bartels sw, not connected to other devices which might give web access.

Any multi-pc setup brings security considerations with it, and not even mentioning those doesn't seem that prof.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.

peter.s

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 06:35:34 AM »
ShareMouse will be on bits very soon, and above, I spoke of "30-40$ devices" - well, I checked my records (I had once bought such a "mechanical" device, but then had it sent back, for its relay being so "loud" that with every click, I feared the device would conk out).

In fact, those "cheap" mechanical/electrical vs. electronic devices do NOT cost 30-40$ in Europe, but, as "mechanically cheap" as they are, they cost over 60€, i.e. over 80$ (TVA and postage included), this being from the very cheapest source over here; (hopefully) "good" mechanical devices starting at over 120€, i.e. some 160$ (always for just 2 pc's; for more, costs rise sharply).

As said above, the problem is, for the sw solutions, you'll need to have your pc's connected within a "home net", which makes available ALL your data to the NSA and the Chinese...

Well, I've got THREE comps, not just two, and I have (as most of us will have) serious space probs re additional monitors/keyboards, so I probably buy ShareMouse, finally, now, in spite of my security considerations, at least for my pc number 2 to become available from shared mouse and kb, and to my screens; I'll have to shift private data to pc 3, then...

I trialled the sw solutions, and ShareMouse is the best one, no doubt about that.

And no, most people will not have it for free, since the sheer presence of some (?) Adobe sw will make you a "prof. user" from the pov of this sw.

Of course, I/we would prefer some sw which does not rely on network connection, and in which's set up some of our data would be safe from spies, even if comp 1 is connected to the internet... ;-)


EDIT:

Well, I might have been wrong here: From my memory, ShareMouse (in spite of its name) shared mouse, kb, and monitor, too, but from the description, I see your pc 2 always needs its own monitor, and so on for further pc's in such a setup.

I've got 2 monitors, both for pc 1, and my idea had been to share 1 of the 2 with pc 2, as well as my kb and mouse, but from my current understanding I either would have to place a 3rd monitor (for which I scarcely will have the space), or to sacrify 1 of my 2 monitors for pc 2 (which is out of the question).

Thus, the usefulness of such sw solutions is far from evident, I'm afraid to say.


EDIT 2

It's not my intention to denigrate current sw. But let's be realistic. I think it's a very viable set-up to have 2 screens (which for most people is a realistic maximum in their respective working environments - we're not speaking of network admins here, but of people who either work alone on their desktop, or who even have customers sitting in front of them), OR even just ONE screen, but which is very broad, and with a high resolution (see below).

Then, you do your work on pc 1, with screens 1 and 2, or with the (better, and higher-priced) screen mentioned above.

Also, you do some work on pc 2, or rather, pc 2 does some work on its own, but which has to be monitored here and then: Does all goes well? Are there some info screens there which ask for your intervention? Etc.

It's NOT realistic for this pc 2 "doings", to have your own screen, your own kb, your own mouse: Once in a while, perhaps once per hour, you'll have to check: for some data mining, for web scraping... whatever.

Thus, by all means, pc 2 should be available from your regular kb, from your regular mouse (which ShareMouse and its competitors do)... AND from your regular screen setup:

- either from 1 of your 2 screens, in my setup, described, above,

OR, even better and much more elegant:

- from a frame within your regular screen (or screen setup; be that devided into two lesser screens, as for me, or be that represented by some state-of-the-art super screen (Sideline: Those very modern, and expensive screens all share one missing feature: They are flat, instead of being slightly curved, as the screens are in sophisticated cinema houses: That's why for the time being, I prefer my two minor, 1280x1024 screens to some "really good one", for the time being, my 2 screens being positioned at some 160 or 150 angle, instead of being aligned straight, at 180 degrees).

Thus, there is certainly room for some sw (and please make it independant from "networking"), from Bartels Media or from other sources, for realizing what I've described above:

A setup from which, for some seconds or minutes, by some "toggle" or such, you see comp 2 in a frame on your screen(s) relied to comp 1, and to which (comp 2) then both your kb and your mouse, technically relied to comp 1, are connected, and it should even be possible to have this frame, "minimized" to perhaps 200x300 pixels, and then without responding to kb/mouse input, on your screen permanently, just like for some television frames and such, within your normal pc/screen setup ("frame in frame" and such).

I kindly invite Mr. Bartels to comment on this issue, all the more so since I'm afraid such a feature will not come from some of the "amateurs" out there.

If, by chance, such sw even exists today, please let us know.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 07:47:20 AM by peter.s »

Shades

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 10:42:44 AM »
I didn't see these being mentioned in your earlier posts...or I accidentally glanced over it. However, these might prove useful even if these do require a network: Ethernet KVM swithes and devices

Google Search and Wikipedia (close to the bottom).

Decent KVM switches are never cheap and this type of KVM requires a device for each computer you want to control + a specific switch, making it quite expensive. However, this type of KVM works even when the computers you need to control are not in the same building or city or even continent.

peter.s

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 02:21:22 PM »
You are right, I didn't mention this third kind, had not even been aware of:

When I bought mine, then sent it back (b/c it was from the "cheap" kind in which I didn't trust, hearing it clicking), I did some "research", and all I got was the traditional relay kind which does not rely on a network (which is the big advantage of them, from the data safety pov), and then the sw offerings; ShareMouse trialling was quite nitemarish since my setup was judged "prof.", so the sw said good-bye every 10 minutes, but except for this, it seemed very good (in the traditional setup, i.e. for just sharing kb and mouse, but NOT for sharing the monitor, too, and I had forgotten my needs had evolved over time).

If I understand your post well, those ethernet kvm switches even work remotely, which is their primal advantage, but it seems they rely on traditional relays (click, click) nethertheless? For the moment, I do not know yet if the traditional kind I know would be able to share ONE OF TWO monitors (setup 1: pc 1, screens 1 plus 2, common kb and mouse; setup 2: pc 2, screen 1 (or 2, or just one window in screen 1 or 2), and again shared kb/mouse), which is a little bit special.

Problem is, as a non-professional, you have the right, in Europe, to send back the stuff within 14 days, but you don't make friends that way, and if you ask them beforehand for special features, you never get correct answers, even from the so-called specialists (which are higher-priced); so at the end of the day I fear what I need cannot be done with "boxes", but should be possible with proper sw.


This being said, I thank you very warmly for the hint to this third kind of switching means; perhaps with some search in the relevant factory pdf's, I'll get valuable info about what's possible with some of them.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.

wraith808

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2014, 05:47:57 PM »
I've been using Multiplicity for years.  It's great software.  And it now has a dedicated subsidiary of Stardock around it, and version 3 has some really good improvement.  I'd recommend it, and if you're having problems with it, contact them.  As EdgeRunner is dedicated to the product, the support has improved massively.

barney

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014, 01:43:32 AM »
Funny, I've gotten no response from EdgeRunner about the failure of Multiplicity to run on my system.  Went back to look, see if 64-bit might be a problem, but didn't notice anything on the Web pages.  As far as I'm concerned at the moment, Multiplicity was a $40 mistake.

peter.s

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2014, 05:46:49 AM »
And beyond that, when sw a costs 40$, and sw b (ShareMouse) not even 10, it'd be a good idea - I've said this before, re some other poster who just said "I prefer a over b", without giving reasons - to explain why buying sw a should be preferable. I acknowledge, though, that for once, I did similarly, with ShareMouse; it's just that my trial has been some time ago, and ShareMouse was very smooth, whilst I had (minor and major) problems with some free offerings, must have overlooked Multiplicity then.

Well, Stardock seems to be another of those "games"; that would not count for a real advantage over ShareMouse, would it? ;-)

EDIT:

Sorry, my fault: Edgerunner = the dedicated subsidiary of Stardock who do "Fences" et al.

Multiplicity seems to be a very interesting program, btw, 3 different versions, so thank you a lot for mentioning it here.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 07:30:22 AM by peter.s »

wraith808

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Re: In search of ... functional software kvm
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 12:42:31 PM »
They responded to me within a few minutes, so I'm not sure what happened. :(  Been using multiplicity for a while... and now that they've added KVM support for headless use.  Stardock was the original company... they spun off their productivity software into Edgerunner to differentiate from their games and desktop customization division.  Which I guess makes sense from as much corporate interest as it gets.