The first incarnation of synergy was CosmoSynergy, created by Richard Lee and Adam Feder then at Cosmo Software, Inc., a subsidiary of SGI (nee Silicon Graphics, Inc.), at the end of 1996. They wrote it, and Chris Schoeneman contributed, to solve a problem: most of the engineers in Cosmo Software had both an Irix and a Windows box on their desks and switchboxes were expensive and annoying. CosmoSynergy was a great success but Cosmo Software declined to productize it and the company was later closed.
Synergy is a from-scratch reimplementation of CosmoSynergy. It provides most of the features of the original and adds a few improvements.