Having a laptop and a desktop is very useful because it provides another display. With the same mouse and keyboard, you can manage both the laptop and the desktop using Synergy2. Synergy2 is a free and open source application that allows us to share the same mouse and keyboard across multiple workstations. According to the official Ubuntu documentation, I recently configured this by using QuickSynergy in Ubuntu and the Synergy2 client in Windows. QuickSynergy is nice, but it doesn’t provide full functionality as it only arranges systems in a circle around the server. In my setup, this works, but it would not be ideal for 4 displays side by side. Instead, you would need to manually edit the configuration file. This is much easier on Windows in my previous experience. You may need to allow the client/server access to the desired port, the default being 24800. I was able to install directly from the repositories instead of from source on my two Ubuntu desktops, and the compiled Windows binaries worked perfectly, and even Windows firewall let it through.
My setup is quite flexible. I’ve got two desktops and one laptop sharing one monitor. The two desktops are connected via KVM to a display. That display has two inputs, so my laptop is also connected to the same monitor as an extended desktop. I have two methods of selecting inputs to the monitor : a button on the front and the KVM control via keyboard.
This kind of flexibility really speeds up and streamlines my music production and progress on Sample Of The Day. I am able to be blogging and editing audio on one display, while on the other I can have Propellerhead’s Reason making loops and free audio samples using the software synthesizers.