Connect them all

Because we are blessed we program on Linux. But because the world is not perfect yet, documents and commercial tools come on Windows,and we even have to write reports on Windows. The result is two machines per engineer.

To share data among two machines, we need NFS or Samba. Shame on you if you are using FTP or even USB flash.

To share user interface, you need some tools described below. You can use the two machines from one user interface. Cut and paste among the two machines is one of the benefit.

I used to use two screens, one for each machine, and used Synergy to use one set of keyboard and mouse for both machines. I really liked this setup especially when I see the mouse cursor moves among the two screens.

    +---------+             +---------+
    |         |             |         |
    | screen1 |             | screen2 |
    |         |             |         |
    +---------+             +---------+
         |                       |
         |                       |
    +---------+   network   +---------+
    |  Linux  |-------------| Windows |
    +---------+   Synergy   +---------+
         |
         |
     keyboard
      mouse

Two screens gives you huge real estate. But I eventually dropped this way because I had to move my neck left and right all day long.

Because monitor became big and cheap these days, one big screen became nicer way. So I changed to VNC.

    +---------+
    |         |
    | screen  |
    |         |
    +---------+
         |                       
         |                       
    +---------+   network   +---------+
    |  Linux  |-------------| Windows |
    +---------+     VNC     +---------+
         |
         |
     keyboard
      mouse

In this setup, Windows desktop is shown on the screen as a window. I used to use this setup for a few years.

You can also connect the screen on Windows side, and show Linux desktop on Windows. But I used Linux as a primary machine because I used Linux much frequently.

However, these days, more and more the nice web stuff and freeware come on Windows. I decided to switch to use Windows as my primary user interface. Another reason is Cygwin/X, which became stable enough to run all the time on Windows. In this way, I can run Emacs on Linux, and use it on Windows.

                            +---------+
                            |         |
                            | screen  |
                            |         |
                            +---------+
                                 |                       
                                 |                       
    +---------+   network   +---------+
    |  Linux  |-------------| Windows |
    +---------+     X11     +---------+
                                 |
                                 |
                              keyboard
                               mouse
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