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Configuring dual displays

Linux Tips 29.11.2011 Comments Off on Configuring dual displays

I personally like running two monitors each on a separate X session. I feel I get more work and productivity accomplished this way. Gnome can sometimes make this a real pain, but I found a way to make it a bit easier.

First let me explain what I am going to accomplish to see if this meets your needs. I am going to be running 2 monitors, 1 is connected via VGA and the other by DVI. The VGA monitor is to be connected to screen 0 as monitor 0 on xsession 0, and the DVI being on 1.

Problem that I ran into is that the system was automatically assigning 0 to the DVI monitor therefore not giving me the results that I desired.

Solution was to simply unplug the DVI monitor, reboot and start with a clean xorg.conf file. I opened up nvidia-settings checked to see that my VGA monitor was configured the way I wanted, then I plugged in my DVI monitor, clicked on “X Server Display Configuration” then “Detect Displays” and it found the DVI monitor. I then set DVI monitor to be right of my VGA monitor and clicked on “Configure” and selected “Separate X Screen” then ensured that all other settings were as I like. I clicked on “Save X Configuration File” and said yes to merge the changes. Then I rebooted my system. and viola! I now have my 2 displays running each in a separate xsessions!

Why separate xsessions? There are times when you need to have the ability of having 2 computers at one time, but not needing 2 physical computers. My system is a quad-core system withs gigs of ram in it. I could do a virtual machine but you are a little limited with that. Running separate xsessions allows me to have processes running on both displays, using one keyboard and mouse, and have access to all of my drives, files, hardware and software without any other configuring. With that said, there are times when opening a program in one xsession and it will open in the other xsession. I have found this to happen only with short-cuts located in the panel at the top of the screen. If you have that problem you can either try opening the command from your application menu, or a command line, otherwise you can edit entries and add this DISPLAY=:0.1 to have the application open in session 1 or DISPLAY=:0.0 to open in session 0.I hope that this helps and please feel free to share this with others!


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