Vertically Integrating Synergy … no really, this is a technical post

Because I couldn’t find any help from the Internet-O-Tron today, let me put this little bit of quality suffering out there for your entertainment.

I just completed murdering my linux box at the office and converted it over to FreeBSD Current with all the lovely Xorg goodness that I need it for.  Really, I only use it to run finch in a screen session and ssh into it from outside, but it does have its value in that.

The last … LAST little bit of my desktop at the office is the synergy tool from ports.  Its a tiny little bit of computer software glue that makes using a laptop as my primary work machine much more useful.  When I dock my T520 (also running FreeBSD Current), the synergy application connects over to my work desktop and I can control/login to it with my mouse and keyboard from my laptop.  Super Effective!

One tiny nit today that really burned out my brain cells.  I had changed the hostname of the box without restarting X.  This caused all kinds of grief that I had never seen before and was super confusing.  I would have been completely lost except for the wonder that is “telnet <hostname> <port>” that I learned way back in the mists of time to troubleshoot firewall and networking issues.

Try it for yourself on a *nix box.  While logged into Gnome, XFCE, KDE or whatever, change the hostname to something other than the one that was set when X started.  <takei>OH MY</takei>

synergy cannot open secondary screen

Breaking down and running the synergy server with -f so that I could see what’s going on, I noted that there appeared to never be a live connection to the host from my client.  Icky.  I assumed initially that there was a firewalling/network problem and started looking at hosts.allow and running truss on synergyc to see what was going on.  I noted, after a long time of grinding through truss output, that synergyc was never even opening a socket to begin with, I fired off a quick “telnet <server> 24800″

When that *DID* connect to the synergys server and I saw the logs it generated, I’ll be honest, I was super confused for like 15 minutes.  The only clue that drug me out of the confusion was the check for .Xauthority stuffs in the truss output.  Geezus, if that hadn’t have been there, I’d have never remembered that I had changed my hostname after I logged in.

The simple answer, not unlike the three finger salute in windows, was to log out of X and back in.  And just like Disco in the 90s, synergy was back.

To whomever in my distant past taught me the trick to telnet as a trouble shooting aid, THANK GOD FOR YOUR EXISTENCE ON THIS PLANET.