x2x -- throw away the docking station

justin gedge jgedge at amis.com
Tue Aug 30 18:05:29 MDT 2005

x2x -- it's a damn cool program.

We started using it here at AMIS when we put linux boxes right next to 
all the old sun boxes.  Most engineers in our office have an Ultra10 and 
a newer Linux box.  The problem is you now have 2 keyboards and 2 mice.  
Well-- x2x lets you capture the keyboard/mouse events from one display 
and shoot them over to another.  It works mostly becasue X is a network 
protocol as well as a graphical interface.  With our sun monitors-- all 
the newer one's have a switch to select between two different inputs.  
W/ x2x-- you can run from one keyboard and as you slide the mouse off 
one screen-- you just have to hit the video select.  The ONLY issue I 
saw between the linux/sun is that Solaris didn't know how to deal with 
mouseButton4 or mouseButton5 [the up/down scroll wheel on most pc 
mice].  Sure-- I could have kept using the sun keyboard/mouse-- but the 
pc cam w/ an optical mouse.  Now days-- I only gear up to use the sun 
box excluseivly a couple times a month-- and I'm usually on it for quite 
a while so I just pull the keyboard down.

Anyways-- with the new laptop-- I've been using x2x and it's sweet-- 
none of the mouse button issues that sun had.

here's how it works.

1] my laptop sits to the right of my desktop monitor

2] on my desktop/workstation I have to issue

        xhost + [laptop ip addr]

    need to do this because workstation needs to
    let laptop send x events etc....

3] on laptop issue following

        x2x -from [workstation ip addr] -east

    if laptop was on left-- you'd probably want
    to put in -west.

I searched plug and didn't find any references to x2x -- so I thought I 
should share it.  It's kind of nice.  I have to open an xterm and type 
in the command-- but after that-- I can sweep between the workstation 
and laptop.  No need for a bulky docking station with the extra keyboard 
and mouse consuming my desktop.

Also-- the author mentions something about ``heaven help you if your 
network connection dies''.  Yeah-- I usually run it manually in it's own 
xterm so I can manually kill it when I'm done.  You'll want to kill x2x 
from the machine it's running on.  Other than a few caveats-- it's a 
pretty sweet program.  One thing that threw me off is how you can 
copy/past from the clip boards of the different X-sessions on different 
machines.  X is pretty powerfull!!!

x2x should come as an rpm with most distros [know it comes with SuSE93] 
although it's one of the easier programs to compile if you have to get 
the source.  Supposably if you compile it under cygwin-- you can use it 
between windows and *nix boxes-- although I have no experience with 
this.  Interested in comments from anyone who has experience with this-- 
or anyone who is able to get it working under cygwin.

Justin Gedge

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