Software KVM with Barrier - 2 or more computers with only one keyboard and one mouse

Hi there :slight_smile:

I would like to share with you a software i have discovered by mistake digging the net with a friend searching something else that is now on my daily usage.

I have 2 computers; one professional and one private. As we can do some BIOD in my company (slack, ..) i took habit to use some software on one device and the other software on the other.

The only problem is that I have one keyboard and one mouse.

The solution for this would be to use 2 keyboards and 2 mouses, a physical KVM or something looking like this :

But there is something better !

This software let you use one computer as server that will have the keyboard and the mouse plugged on it, and the other computer as client that will receive the mouse and keyboard events remotely without any extra HW.

Easy, I'm now working on my pro computer located at my right side. I'm moving the mouse out of the screen going to my left side, here we are, the mouse now control the priv computer and btw, the keyboard is now controlling the priv computer too.

The software permit a clipboard sync, that is also working with software like copyq and allow you to copy something one side, and paste it the other side (screenshots included, but not files).

The software uses one port defined on server (can be changed from default) and uses SSL to secure the data transport.

The configuration is easy :

Server side :

Client side :

The software is open source and works on Linux (Ubuntu, and others) Windows and MacOS.
You can install it with apt, snap and flatpak.

Of course, it can be used on physical and a virtual machine. Let's go deeper ! :slight_smile:
Imagine, you have a Linux machine with a KVM (kernel virtualization) virtual machine. You can dedicate one extra HW graphical card, plug it to a secondary monitor, and use barrier to control your physical computer one side, moving the mouse out of the screen going to the other, your virtual machine.

I'm writing this, because I'm sure it will bring one amazing software to one lucky community member that is right now searching for something like this.

Best regards,


Just an FYI from someone who used this at work recently. The snap and flatpak versions work but not always reliably due to where the config files get placed. The one in the standard repositories or installed directly from a .deb work better.

1 Like

I first installed via flatpak on my pro computer and finally installed again from snap because of some network limitations (bind, ...)

1 Like

As a quick note for anyone coming across this later: note that this only works with X11.

Wayland does not, and most likely never will, support software like this (in the name of security theater, as usual). There's a chance it may be runnable via XWayland, but I haven't tried that yet myself.

This sounds like a good candidate for a Wayland compositor plugin. I know that Weston (the reference Wayland compositor that everybody else mimics) has a (rudimentary) plugin for screen shooting and one for screen locking, so why can't this be implemented as a plugin as well?

The answer: There's too many Wayland compositors out there. In other words, too much fragmentation, too much diversity, equals a lack of interoperability. I could go on for pages about this, but I think Wayland compositors need a standard plugin format before Wayland can really take off.

That's the least of Wayland's problems. The whole thing has been a trainwreck from day one, and after 13 years it's still nowhere near being an acceptable replacement for X.

The fragmentation wouldn't be a problem in the first place if the Wayland team had actually Done Their Job and provided a functional base for DEs to work with. At this point it's as if Red Hat considers the Wayland and GNOME developers as fungible; so the more work the Wayland team skips out on, for RH it's basically a wash, whereas the more work the "competing" DEs have to burn on providing all those pieces themselves, the better it is for RH.

Cynical, I know, but very little else explains the massive failure that Wayland has been and still is - unless everyone involved in it is themselves cynical enough to want to just keep collecting a paycheck indefinitely for doing literally nothing. Which is nice work if you can get it, but not much use to the rest of us. :stuck_out_tongue:

It's a real shame Mir got torpedoed the way it did: five years ago it was already ahead of where Failand is now, and it got there in a fraction of the time, so with those extra years it would likely long since have settled into a stable and complete replacement - something that we still don't have yet despite over a decade of broken promises. sigh. Oh well, such is life...