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A few people have asked us to implement a feature where multiple sessions simultaneously take input from the keyboard. (Perhaps with a separate window for input to all sessions, allowing input to individual sessions too.) The usual reason cited is the need to administer multiple similar systems (e.g., clusters).
(Apparently `Sun Cluster' implements something like this in `ctelnet/estelnet').
We think that this is (a) a niche feature not worth taking up space in everyone's PuTTY binaries for, and (b) better done by a separate application. Outlined below is a design for a Windows application which would do the job:
If I'm the sort of user who wants to type the same text into multiple windows, there's no real reason I might not want to type the same text into a collection of windows that I already had on the screen, or had not happened to start up from the same PuTTY command line. Ideally I'd like to select any set of my existing windows and type the same text into all of those. In fact, they probably wouldn't all want to be PuTTYs - I can see clear uses for being able to select a bunch of PuTTYs and a Notepad, so I can keep a log of what I typed in a text file.
What I'm driving at is that I think this could be a useful piece of functionality, but really it belongs in a separate input-duplicating application which is independent of PuTTY. The way I see this working is:
- you'd start up this application, and it would contain (say) a list box which listed the windows it was currently targetting.
- there would also be an `Add Window' button; you'd press this, then select another top-level window (a PuTTY, or something else), and the title of that window would appear in the list.
- there'd be an actual input box, which you could select and then type text. Any text you typed into the input box would be sent to all the windows shown in the list.
- when a targetted application closed, the duplicator would notice and its title bar would vanish from the list.
I think this application, as I've outlined it, would be far more flexible and useful than putting the functionality directly into PuTTY. Unfortunately, I don't think I've got the time to write it.
A Windows application which implements something like this is PuTTY Command Sender, on our Links page.
There are apparently Unix utilities called fanout and fanterm which implement this style of thing.