The Nokia N900 internet tablet is a fantastic gadget for geeks. It runs on the open-source Maemo 5 OS - which is a variant of Debian and for all intents and purposes, can be considered as a mobile computer rather than a phone.
While Maemo 5 is a great operating system by itself, it is not possible to run regular Linux software like Open Office or Gimp directly on it due to UI constraints. (Maemo has its' own GUI optimized for touch input and the small screen size of the tablet). However, a project called easy-debian allows users to install a full version of Debian on N900 and run any applications like a regular computer. It is bundled with the LXDE desktop environment and is very easy to install and use. My only gripe with the system is that it is a bit difficult to move the mouse with the finger - specially when it comes to clicking on stuff. But then again, real geeks use the command line! :)
I regularly use Synergy to share a single mouse and keyboard between my desktop and laptop. Today while messing around with the Easy Debian LXDE, I had the bright idea to see whether Synergy can be used to share the mouse and keyboard with my N900 as well. It turns out I can! The biggest advantage of this is that it allows me to type on my regular keyboard - no more finger cramps while hacking away on the phone. Having the ability to use the mouse in LXDE is pretty cool as well. Finally, don't forget the ability to copy and paste text between the computer and the phone - a very useful thing to have when you are editing config files etc.
For anyone interested, here's what I did:
On my desktop (Fedora 12):
1. sudo yum install synergy
2. Create a config file. Mine looks as follows. (sayaka is the desktop. saori is the N900.)
section: screens sayaka: saori: end section: links sayaka: right = saori saori: left = sayaka end
3. Start the Synergy server with the config file
synergys -f -c synergy.conf
On my N900:
Start LXDE and open a console
1. Install QuickSynergy
sudo apt-get install quicksynergy
2. Start the Synergy client. Replace sayaka with your own server name
Now if you move the mouse to the right and outside of the monior, it will appear in the N900 desktop. Try clicking on a few icons and typing something using the keyboard. Pretty cool eh?