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Multiplicity – Dual Display? Try Dual Machine!

I was about to hit the sack when my buddy Herb threw this link at me. It’s a post up at WinCustomize.com by Frogboy. In it, he is describing a new product by the software company Stardock called Multiplicity. I highly recommend you read Frogboy’s post.

Multiplicity is an application that will let you seamlessly use two (or more) computers with one keyboard and mouse. Anyone with a dual display setup on one computer will already know how this works: you have two displays and you can move between them by simply dragging your mouse to the edge of one screen, where it then pops up at the edge of the other. Here’s an example, my setup on my windows machine. Multiplicity promises to provide the same seamless switching between displays, but the difference is that each display is hooked up to its own computer. That’s right… You can control multiple computers with a single mouse and keyboard, simply moving across each desktop as you would on a multiple display configuration. This means you can render a 3D scene on one box, and hop over to your other computer to have an IM conversation or web surf, each process happening on a separate machine.

Multiplicity doesn’t stop there. It also merges your clipboard between all of your machines. If you highlight text and hit copy, you can move your mouse over to another computer and paste that text. This actually applies to ANY clipboard data. The “Pro” version (which of course costs more money) extends this to files and directories! No more network shares or network storage space to deal with.

As I read through Frogboy’s post I held my breath waiting for the bit of news that would ultimately determine if Multiplicity would be of extreme value to me or not. And then I found the combination of words I was looking for: “ …you can now control a PC and a Mac together .” That’s right, Stardock is currently in development of a Mac version of Multiplicity that would work along side of the Windows client. This is extremely exciting for me, as I know it must be for thousands of others, as I have a windows box and an OSX Powerbook on my network, and being able to control both from my desktop mouse and keyboard would certainly be worth the price of admission. I haven’t seen word of a Linux client, but if this tool saturates the market as proficiently as I expect it will, then I don’t imagine that such a client would be far behind. I also believe that running two (or three) different operating systems together may pose problems with the clipboard working as described above, but I trust the engineers can find a solution, and judgment shall be reserved for the final product.

The ship date for Multiplicity is currently set for February 21. Stardock is taking pre-orders for the product (I don’t really see the logic behind offering pre-orders on an electronically distributed product, but to each his own) at the price of $39.99 for a two computer license and $69.99 for the “Pro” version, which gives you clipboard and file copying ability as well as a license for three or more computers. A demo is in development and should be available shortly.

Stardock: Multiplicity Product Page

Chris Owens

4 Comments

  1. That’s interesting. I’m guessing it’s pushing a bitmap of the extended desktop over the network to the second machine, much like VNC does? I’d be interested to see how fast that is. I guess I could download it and give it a try! (Though it serves a completely different purpose than that of Synergy or Multiplicity)

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