Suggestions for a Strange Project?

Eugene.Leitl at Eugene.Leitl at
Sat Jun 16 05:01:27 EDT 2001

Mega Hurts wrote:

> Some things never change.

Too bad.

> My current setup consists of four machines, running
> Win98.  I use a single monitor and infrared keyboard/

Good idea, wrong OS. Winders doesn't do networking
very well -- but there's VNC, of course. And diverse
remote administration packages, Back Orifice et al.

> mouse, and switch from one machine to another with
> a KVM switch.  I connect to the internet on the first
> machine, which runs a proxy, and the other machines
> can run mail, FTP, news and web clients.  I use a couple
> of the boxes for compute-intensive MPEG recording, and
> when they are busy, can switch to the others for office
> activities.  Soon I will change the fourth box to Linux.

VNC is your friend here, again. Actually, I live on
half a dozen boxes at work, all of them *nix (and one
Winders box, via VNC), and it is really hard to tell 
where you are, as it looks so seamless. The bash shell 
versions differ, though (and I keep them that way), 
and of course the home directories do, and I've 
deliberately configured Netscapes to look different.
> To switch from box to box, I press CTL-CTL-1, or
> CTL-CTL-2, etc.  The fun begins:

I don't have to switch anything. All the different windows
live on one or several virtual desktops. The clipboard works.
The only problem is which Netscape gets the url pasted
if I use KDE's smart clipboard, which knows the http://pattern.
> [1] I use background colors and a labeled icon to remind
> me which context I'm in.  Things get fun when I am
> working in a file, copy text or a graphic, switch to
> another machine- AND FORGET THAT I CAN'T PASTE.

You can't? That's just too bad, it's trivial with X.
It's annoying being unable to paste from VNC, though.
> [2] Or I'm using my beloved and vital graphics pad and
> switch machines, only to be reminded that the cursor
> on one machine and one only is under Wacom control.

One word: X. Never no troubles no more.
> [3] All the clocks lose and gain time at different
> rates.  This becomes important when recording off-air
> scheduled events, and updating the clocks on four machines
> is just another chore.

Crontab an NTP server. Takes care of clock synching,
without screwing anything up.
> Well, Rochester... I'm thinking.  All these boxes can
> talk to each other via that zippy 100Mb LAN.

Yeah, X is really a pleasure over Fast Ethernet.
> Now, why can't machine #1 share its web-updated clock
> info, and machine #2 share its graphics-tablet cursor
> info when needed, and all of them write to a common
> 'clipboard'?

They can.
> A lightweight task running on all machines should provide
> the connectivity and clock awareness, cursor and mouse-key-awareness.  Any
> suggestions on where to start?

After you're done with that, . Then your
diverse boxes really become a *single* computer.

To make this less off-topic: anyone uses Python/MPI here?
(Apart from Konrad, I mean).

-- Eugen* Leitl
ICBMTO  : N48 10'07'' E011 33'53''
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