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Multiple-Display Power Tools For Linux?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-a-hard-knock-life dept.

Displays 410

shift writes "I've used multiple monitors for years (currently 3) and find that Linux is lacking in power tools for such setups. Even Windows 7 has added the feature to move a window from screen to screen with keyboard shortcuts. Are any of the major desktop environments adding such features? I'm still stuck on FVWM and have defined functions to swap the contents of screens as well as move windows from screen to screen and so on. But this just seems like such basic functionality people would want in multi-screen setups that I'm surprised I don't find any of these features in our latest desktop environments."

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Issues I've had. (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340350)

The biggest problem I have with multiple displays is when full screen games don't support it and end up half way off one of the screens.
But that's getting better.

At least I don't have to deal with 3d and video only working on one of the screens. I just use nvidia twinview.

Re:Issues I've had. (-1, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341272)

Yeah, this whole article stinks of Microsoft FUD.
  • Used the phrase "Linux is lacking", check.
  • Cites ancient version and ignores latest DEs, check.
  • Praise for Windows 7, check.

This is as real as "Get the Facts". How'd it ever get to the front page?

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340378)

Mod me down but you know it's true.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340408)

I rather refute it. I have used linux on the desktop exclusively for years. What problems exactly are you having?

Or are you just trolling?

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340524)

I'm having problems with 3 monitors.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340540)

what video card/s, which driver, and please do post your xorg.conf

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340544)

if using a distro that supports XrandR please give the command you used to format that. Or the results of the logs when trying to config it via some gui tool.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

zevans (101778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340620)

Rather than post xorg.conf, try renaming it out of the way, and see if you can get any closer to what you want using xrandr plus whichever GUI tool suits your WM and choice of GNOME versus KDE. (krandrtray in my case under Kubuntu, and no, it doesn't work too well - I have written a small xrandr script with the right serious of commands for usual setups I use.)

I say this because recent versions of the X server (past 1.6) do much better at figuring out stuff automatically and xorg overrides tend to just confuse it.

The subject line of this thread is a little harsh, but I agree multimonitor under Linux is not particularly slick - in fact some parts of it seem to be less slick than things were in X11R4. Feel free to disagree, but if it is slick for you, please reply and let us all know what tools we haven't found yet that fixed it for you.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340972)

Yes, this man is correct! The sooner people ditch the abomination that is xorg.conf files, the better off we'll all be. For the love of christ people, fuck off the xorg.conf file, it pretty much "just works" these days without one (just make sure HAL is running).

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (0, Troll)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341064)

You will notice that the toe jam pickers that claim to have it working will never specify their system and never ever give up an xorg.conf file. They're trolling.

Please mod down my post (1, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341154)

That's one reason why Linux has not gained widespread acceptance. Because of these people. They and their elitist way of treating other people, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Just one of them can more than undo the efforts of 10 helpful people.

I wish I know how to contact these people, so I can stick it to them, "Hey shut up already! Either you find a solution to these outstanding problems (which you KNOW is true - or not), or shut the fuck up!"

Sorry for trolling. Please mod this down. But I really need an outlet right now.

Btw, anyone knows how to get Firefox to work fast in Linux (Gnome or whatever)? I find that it works 2-3 times faster in Windows XP on my Eee PC than in Debian LXDE, when having multiple Slashdot tabs open. :( I've searched Google but there's not many practical solutions that I can apply. Ditto for SeaMonkey, IIRC.

Re:Please mod down my post (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341316)

Use an accelerated FF build from a third party. Official Firefox builds on Linux are less optimized than their windows counterparts since they don't come with PGO etc.

Re:Please mod down my post (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341332)

Multiple slashdot tabs is one of your slowdown causes. Slashdot's site code is so horrible that what once loaded fine and fast on an outdated P3 doesn't load for at least ten minutes.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341188)

You will notice that the toe jam pickers that claim to have it working will never specify their system and never ever give up an xorg.conf file. They're trolling.

FreeBSD 8.0 (7.2 until just recently) on a Mac Mini 2.0 GHz core2 duo with Intel 945 graphics. No xorg.conf is necessary on this machine -- as on most machines now, it has been rendered obsolete by hald and dbus, in Linux as well as *BSD.

And you were saying what now?

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341210)

Oh, forgot to mention this [matrox.com], which makes two displays possible from my intel graphics card, and xrandr.

Parent just isn't ready for Slashdot (3, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340434)

Mod me up (I prefer "informative") but you know it's true

Re:Parent just isn't ready for Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340684)

Parent just isn't ready for Slashdot

Parent is perfect for Slashdot.

In case you haven't got the memo, Slashdot is now a Microsoft fansite. Anti Linux FUD is rarely even noticed any more, let alone challenged.

Re:Parent just isn't ready for Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341002)

It's not FUD if it's true.

Re:Linux just isn't ready for the desktop (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340438)

What is this mythical "desktop" of which you speak? Which everyone refers to as the mythical "Holy Grail" of computing, yet can never give a good definition of it? Linux is perfectly fine for the desktop. It's the desktop that isn't ready for Linux.

Compiz can do it. (5, Informative)

rqg (1413223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340388)

Use compiz and set your shortcuts in Window Management / Put. Just checked moving windows to different outputs (I use 2 displays) and it works.

Re:Compiz can do it. (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340480)

The man is using FVWM, something tells me going from FVWM to compiz is not what he's looking for exactly...

Re:Compiz can do it. (1, Troll)

warcow105 (1173105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340926)

The man is using FVWM, something tells me going from FVWM to compiz is not what he's looking for exactly...

I am looking for my van to take hairpin turns at 250mph....are you not going to suggest that maybe I should be looking for a different vehicle :-)

Re:Compiz can do it. (2, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340988)

I am looking for my van to take hairpin turns at 250mph....are you not going to suggest that maybe I should be looking for a different vehicle :-)

Two choices:

  1. Look for steeply banked hairpin turns.
  2. Drop the van on a hairpin-covered trampoline on the Moon. You'll need to be in a vacuum because your van's terminal velocity in Earth's atmosphere is less than 250 mph.

Re:Compiz can do it. (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341120)

Drop the van on a hairpin-covered trampoline on the Moon. You'll need to be in a vacuum because your van's terminal velocity in Earth's atmosphere is less than 250 mph.

How is the terminal velocity of the van in Earth's atmosphere relevant if the van is being dropped on the Moon? And why does it need to be a vacuum? Next you'll be suggesting that it needs to travel at the speed of light in order to exceed escape velocity, even though some significantly lower speed would also be sufficient.

Re:Compiz can do it. (3, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341242)

You're forgetting Moore's Law for Gravity, which makes it stronger every 18 month. Any velocity less than c would eventually fail to be enough for escaping.

You need a GUI? (1)

Spyware23 (1260322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340390)

sudo vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Or, if you need a GUI, try xorgconf-gui: http://fosswire.com/post/2007/8/ubuntu-getting-xorgconf-gui/ [fosswire.com] (could be deprecated).

Re:You need a GUI? (1)

Spyware23 (1260322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340406)

Sorry to reply to myself, but I just realized I totally skipped over the part where I tell you about the awesomeness that is Xinerama.

Don't think there is a GUI for it yet, though.

Re:You need a GUI? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340428)

Not sure what the default 9.10 ubuntu gnome window manager is, but it works great.

But I do not use any close source drivers, so that may have something to do with it.

Re:You need a GUI? (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340536)

multiple mointor support is through XRandR. It also does away with the stupid xorg.conf.

Another Question (2, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340396)

While we're on the subject, I'm curious to know how well Linux supports three monitor setups. I'm thinking of setting up three monitors on two graphics cards with KDE4. Does anyone have experience with this setup? How well does Compiz work for you? (I've heard anecdotal stories that Compiz can't cross video cards.) Is this something that SaX (or another GUI tool) setup, or will I be hand-editing configuration files?

Re:Another Question (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340418)

KDE works fine with 3 monitors (both with 2 and 3 video cards). You'll probably end up with special effects only on one monitor, especially if the display sizes vary.

Re:Another Question (3, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340610)

At my office, most of the developers have at least two monitors (1600x1200 Dell 2007FP or something like that). They're rotated 90 degrees (more vertical space for coding) and configured as a dual-monitor setup. A few developers have expanded things to 3 or 4 monitors. The machines in question sometimes have trouble booting up with two video cards (they're somewhat cheap old motherboards), but the drivers and desktop setup (Nvidia binary blobs under Ubuntu) were always pretty easy to get running and Just Worked with the nvidia config tool.

Re:Another Question (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340660)

I've heard anecdotal stories that Compiz can't cross video cards.

Compiz doesn't really have the problem here. It's the driver's problem. Specifically, on certain Intel video chips, there's a limit to the size of the framebuffer you can have with DRI, which Compiz requires. 2048x2048 was the limit, which is pretty hard to fit two-three monitors into with reasonable resolution, especially with the Widescreen Monitor Proliferation we've seen in the past decade. IIRC, this has been fixed with later drivers ("shatter" fb, which does exactly what it sounds like it does, was the solution I remember hearing about), but it plagued many for a very long time.

Re:Another Question (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341132)

Compiz? On KDE4? KDE4 has it's own compositing window manager, it does not use Compiz.

Re:Another Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341186)

kwin is easily disabled. On my ATI 3650, kwin runs VERY badly, but compiz runs fine.

Re:Another Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341150)

If you're an nVidia user, your biggest problem will be adjusting to not having twinview.

When I tried this a while back, I had to choose seamless desktop (Xinerama) or compositing (separate screens), not both. Xinerama didn't care how many monitors I had set up and worked great overall, but the lack of compositing was a problem for me. I was able to use compositing by separating each display, but then I had to run separate window managers on all three displays.

I ended up going back to two displays, since I didn't see enough benefit from the third to be worth losing either seamlessness or compositing effects (third display was crappy, just used it to test going beyond two monitors).

Things may be better if you have an ATI card, but don't expect much out of nVidia. Their drivers don't do shit for you once you go past two monitors and move out of their happy little twinview funland. Oh, they SAY they'll support RandR one day, maybe, but it's been years and they still haven't. They're going to keep pushing two displays and their xinerama hack on Linux users until 2020 or beyond, probably.

You can configure KDE to use the keyboard (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340402)

Configure desktop > Keyboard and Mouse > Keyboard shortcuts > kwin

Select the action you want to do (move, maximize, move 1 desktop to left/right, move to desktop #, etc), and the keyboard combination you want to assign to it.

Yes, thank you! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341010)

...My favorite is pack left/right/up/down. Does Windows 7 have anything like that?

No, it's not an instant "go to the other screen" button, but it's a bit more generic, and it's never more than two or three taps of it to get to the other screen.

What's wrong with dragging windows? (3, Informative)

datajack (17285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340412)

I've been using multiple screens for years, though mostly under Ubuntu on nVidia cards. I can simply drag windows from one screen to another - not exactly difficult. Maximised windows will even resize themselves as my tow monitors do not have the same resolution.

Given that, if you really waanted keyboard control...

alt-space, down arrow, down arrow (to un-maximise), return
then

alt-space, down arrow, down arrow, down arrow (move)

use arrow keys to move window to wherever on your desktop you want it.

Re:What's wrong with dragging windows? (1, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340568)

alt-space,x(to un-maximise), return then

alt-space,m(move)

use arrow keys to move window to wherever on your desktop you want it.

FTFY

Isn't this pretty widespread already? (5, Interesting)

Elshar (232380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340422)

Is this just a problem with FVWM? I know I've been doing it for years in both FreeBSD and Linux. I've done it with FreeBSD running Windowmaker as early as 2002-2003, iirc. And I've done it on Linux with KDE and Gnome.

I've done it with Matrox, ATI, and Nvidia cards. I guess I'm not really sure what the submitter is talking about, because it works for me just as he's asking for without any special hardware.

In fact, in linux running Ubuntu, this was the default configuration as I recall, and I've actually got this working on the Ubuntu 9.10 right here.

no luck with four monitors and triplehead2go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340430)

i do multimedia work and use a matrox triplehead2go for video and audio editing. i use three screens across the triplehead2go for my timelines and various resource viewing. my graphics card is a dualhead, so i use a fourth monitor for my video display when editing or syncing audio to video. i'm on a mac pro. it was my intention to try working with one of the linux multimedia distros but getting this configuration to work was pretty much impossible for me and help has been pretty much impossible to find in various forums.

i've had to give up on linux for the time being for this kind of work and stick with windoze and apple as they both work with this setup out of the box.

Re:no luck with four monitors and triplehead2go (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340472)

You should config it with nvidia-settings. That will recognize it as a huge monitor.

I have only seen this used with nvidia proprietary drivers, if you use another video card you will need to see how its driver treats this device.

Multiple desktops (4, Informative)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340444)

This might be overly simplifying the matter, but Ubuntu (GNOME environment) has got multiple workspaces built in, and CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-right_arrow will throw the current window to the next workspace. Couldn't you just assign each workspace to a different monitor and be done with it?

Re:Multiple desktops (3, Insightful)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340512)

Would be nice wouldn't it? Unfortunately the only way I have seen multiple monitor setups working is each workspace just gets much bigger, and shares all the monitors. For example, I start playing a movie in workspace 3, then drag the movie to the top of my workspace to where my tv is, then full screen. Then, when I flip to workspace 2 to check my email, my movie gets flipped away from also, until I move back to workspace 3 again. Not the way I would have expected it to work, but I have just been getting used to it.

Re:Multiple desktops (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340942)

I usually make the window "sticky" or "always on visible workspace" in that scenario, then you can leave it playing fullscreen on the tv and it will follow you to all your workspaces

Re:Multiple desktops (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340950)

You can do that, the catch is that by running the second X Server you can't actually move your windows between monitors. The bright side though is that you can switch the left or the right monitor to a different virtual screen. If anybody has any ideas, I'm somewhat surprised that there isn't an equivalent that lets you switch only one monitor portion of the screen.

Tiling Window Managers (3, Interesting)

Roguelazer (606927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340450)

When using Xinerama (which you really ought to be if you want control over your multi-screen setup), many tiling window managers can do all sorts of neat things. I personally use Awesome [naquadah.org], although I'm told that xmonad [xmonad.org] is also good at this.

Re:Tiling Window Managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341112)

Another awesome user here. In fact, I switched to awesome a few months ago primarily because of the multi-screen support. Its really beautiful. I have shortcuts for moving a window to the next screen, moving all windows to next screen, swapping all windows between two screens.

Awesome definitely has a learning curve, but I have found that it was very rewarding. Tiling really is the way to go. Also, it is under very active development and very stable.

xmonad window manager for multiple displays (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340462)

Xmonad seperates the concept of virtual desktops from the displays on which they are put.
so not only can you move a window from one monitor alt-shift-[wer] for moving from monitors 1 2 3 respectivly.
you can put any of the (default 9) virtual desktops on any monitor with alt-[1-9]. The window manager is about as hard to learn to use as VI though it is really really well worth it. expecially when you use it from within gnome so you dont have to loose all the task bar goodness.

Re:xmonad window manager for multiple displays (2, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341116)

I second xmonad. Don't know about running it within gnome as the parent says though, for me that would defeat the whole point. :)
Xmonad has a small learning curve if you're used to doing everything with the mouse but you can set any keybindings you like, it takes nearly no system resources to run, and handles multiple monitors extremely well.

Power Tools (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340466)

Was I the only one that was thinking of Circular Saws, Electric drills with built in LCD displays?

Re:Power Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340520)

Yep

Re:Power Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340554)

Many miter saws already have LCD displays to display angles and stuff.

Re:Power Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340980)

Was I the only one that was thinking of Circular Saws, Electric drills with built in LCD displays?

Yes. Yes you were.

Keyboard Shortcut in GNOME (5, Informative)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340470)

To move a window to another monitor (not workspace) in GNOME, press alt+F7, hold shift and the direction you want to move.

Re:Keyboard Shortcut in GNOME (1)

abatkin (246575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340682)

Wow, you might actually be the only person who bothered to answer the OP's question!

Re:Keyboard Shortcut in GNOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340910)

Err, that is a really awkward solution. I imagine OP was looking for something along the lines of what CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+ does with multiple desktops, but across monitors instead. Of course, as pointed out elsewhere, one solution is just to assign a desktop per monitor. I don't know of a nice GUI to configure that though, which is also seemingly what the OP is looking for.

Tiling (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340504)

Linux has many fine tiling window managers available, such as Xmonad, AwesomeWM, and StumpWM. These pieces of software deal very well with multi-monitor setups. They have support and expressive keybindings built in. They also automatically manage window size and placement, which is a great boon, especially if you have a lot of screen real estate: no more dragging windows around to see everything!

Truly, tiling window managers are screen-management power tools. I personally use Xmonad on four screens with named dynamic workspaces, which allows me to nicely label each set of windows and layout according to the content of the windows involved.

The whole point of OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340510)

... Is that you contribute your handy code back in, so that everyone else gets the benefit of it - so give your modifications back to FVWM, that way if you need to install a new machine later, you won't have to repeat the work. Also, the other people using FVWM will have something handy.

As to your question, well - most everyone uses windows managers other than FVWM these days, and most all of those are multiple-desktop awake, as the other posts around here will tell you.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't still contribute back to FVWM though - if you're finding it useful then it does have value.

Re:The whole point of OSS (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340918)

a) He's asking wether someone *has* done something like that, so he can be one of the mythical everyone elses people keep talking about.
b) A lot of people seem to be using whatever window manager they want, and I expect fvwm is still in good use
c) He's not actually talking about multi-desktop, he's talking about multi-screen. He wants to use the keyboard to move a window to another physical monitor, not another virtual desktop.

Re:The whole point of OSS (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341328)

I for one like to use FVWM because it's actually very configurable.

I hate icons, window decorations and the usual way of interacting with the mouse, so my fvwm config file removes all decorations, hides windows instead of iconizing them, and reprograms the mouse buttons to do specific things. For example, clicking twice with the 4th button hides the window, but click-dragging moves it. This works anywhere within the area of the target window, so I don't have to go nuts trying to hit the exact two pixels of the window border. The 5th button is for resizing or killing. Fitts' law on steroids, if you like. If I click on the root window, I get a list of all the current hidden windows, wm2 style. This is all done directly with FVWM, and I used to experiment with other convenience algorithms, like auto-hiding windows with a timer, if they haven't been focused for a few minutes, etc.

I'm not saying other WMs can't do some of these things, but FVWM does all of them, and this level of programmable configuration in the basic package is what attracts a lot of people.

dwm (5, Informative)

zero-point-infinity (918349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340532)

dwm [suckless.org] had its multihead support improved back in July. Since pretty much all of dwm's window management is by keyboard, of course it has keyboard shortcuts for moving windows between monitors. So yeah, this feature exists in even one of the most minimalist window managers out there.

Your problem is your window manager... (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340548)

You're looking for another tool to add functionality to your window manager, when in reality that's your problem. Either patch the window manager to add this or switch to a remotely modern (or featured, or whatever) window manager.

I've used KDE for years and it has very advanced keybinds to move windows pretty much anywhere. I can resize and move windows with just my keyboard. It has had this functionality much longer than windows ever had. Your only problem is the window manager. Linux isn't lacking in these power tools, you just aren't using them.

Re:Your problem is your window manager... (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341262)

Please read his post again. He clearly states that his current window manager (FVWM) handles this fine, and he is wondering if more modern, more common window managers handle it too. Since I too am a FVWM user (quite satisfied, in fact the reason I always return to FVWM is that other window managers simply do not have the functionality and flexibility FVWM does), I can confirm that it is possible to do this in FVWM. I cannot provide any information about other WM, as I never used any of them with multiple monitors.

I've used KDE for years and it has very advanced keybinds to move windows pretty much anywhere. I can resize and move windows with just my keyboard. It has had this functionality much longer than windows ever had. Your only problem is the window manager. Linux isn't lacking in these power tools, you just aren't using them.

Well, if you want to argue which WM or platform had which functionality first, in FVWM you could move and resize windows with keyboard only (in fact, perform any WM action with keyboard only) long time before KDE development even started.

Linux Fails (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340576)

I think we should just accept that linux blows chunks when it comes to this. But being slashdot you'll still question why everyone doesnt drop MS.

Nvidia-settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340586)

Using Ubuntu Karmic, when I go to work, I plug my laptop into the dock and then boot. I click on nvidia-settings from the menu and then X Server Display Configuration. I click on configuration and set it to twinview. I click apply and voila I have two screens presented. I have never tried three, but as my docking station also a DVI output connection, I would guess and say that it will probably work just as easily.

Re:Nvidia-settings (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340770)

Don't bet on it.

It's not a linux limitation but a general limitation, most laptops just can't run three display, and if they're doing 2 then usually one of them MUST be the builtin.

Re:Nvidia-settings (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340946)

most laptops just can't run three display

Any laptop with USB ports (eg any recent laptop) can run at least 9 non-builtin monitors - external vga + 8 x USB-VGA. USB to VGA adapters have been around for ages and the one i'm familiar with supports up to 8 such devices connected. Other brands or other models may support more. Last time I used one it even played youtube video's quite well - I was expecting it to render text just fine but to bog down doing much else but it surprised me.

Additionally, there are devices available to split a single VGA output into multiple, eg 2048x768 => 2 x 1024x768.

I was testing under Windows, but i'm sure it claimed to support Linux.

I hope you're not a troll (3, Insightful)

Eldred (693612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340624)

FVWM is a windows manager that has been around with few major functional changes for several decades. It's a solid windows manager that is very good at what it does; managing your workspaces and placing the right windows in the right place, directing input to the correct application, etc. In addition it is highly streamlined, with not a lot of excess bells and windows, which makes it highly valuable in a low and limited resource environments. Gnome and KDE are much fatter tool sets providing many of the bells and whistles you seem to crave. In addition FVWM can be used in conjunction with individual tools from these tools sets. Try out Gnome or KDE, either instaed of or along side FVWM and see what you get.

Re:I hope you're not a troll (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340670)

FVWM is a windows manager that has been around with few major functional changes for several decades.

It true! My grandfather used this back in the 30s and 40s! He stopped when he was drafted into WWII, but that's a whole different story....

enlightenment 17 (1, Interesting)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340642)

e17 handles it rather brilliantly.

Each screen gets its own set of virtual desktops, and you can drag windows from one screen to another, or set up keyboard shortcuts to do it.

I set up 2 screens side by side, each with a set of virtual desktops that I can switch between by moving the mouse to the right and left edges. If I move the mouse to the bottom edge of the right screen it shows up at the top of the left screen. It takes only a few minutes to get used to.

Of course, you could give up the virtual desktop scrolling and have the more intuitive setup of the mouse hitting the left edge of the right screen and going to the right edge of the left screen.

A good combo. (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340654)

I personally have found that you can use fluxbox's keys file to bind just about anything, so I have keys bound that launch a script which calls xrandr with the right options and modes for my monitors, works prefectly.

Partially correct, he is (4, Insightful)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340710)

Let's not pretend there was no problem with multiple monitors at times.
To me, Linux has been ready for the desktop for 10 years, and I've been using it almost exclusively. So, that's said.
Though, using dual monitor out of the box has failed me at the first instance a good number of times. And that's far away from perfect. Because I know how to handle Xorg.0.log and xorg.conf; and I know where to post for help; but Aunty Tilly doesn't.

Example 1: 1600x1200 next to 1024x768, Gnome, year:2009. Failed. Took me a few hours until I found a filed bug, that Xorg would not accept a higher resolution of the virtual desktop than 2048x2048. Placing 1600x1200 above 1024x768 finally worked; based on Gnome's GUI. Still not good.

Example 2: Playing with KDE (4.3.2-4), that same thing doesn't. The desktop configuration applet (Computer Administration->Display) simply doesn't allow to un-mirror the two screens; contrary to the 'Display' applet in Gnome. Another need to resort to Google, and a forum. Solution: I need to issue a number of xrandr commands to split the two displays to show separate content. Not good.

Example 3: Having another box with Nvidia-card with TV out. The same KDE (4.3.2-4) applet simply is not aware of the TV output. It shows one standard display, the LCD monitor. Over. Of course, the Nvidia-applet works fine, doing anything with the TV of my liking. But it would require the user to know that she uses a Nvidia card, and that there is another applet that she needs to use. Not good.

The problem, AFAIK, is not that on Linux one couldn't; but one can't, once too often, not simply out of the box.

Re:Partially correct, he is (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341118)

Example 1: 1600x1200 next to 1024x768, Gnome, year:2009. Failed. Took me a few hours until I found a filed bug, that Xorg would not accept a higher resolution of the virtual desktop than 2048x2048. Placing 1600x1200 above 1024x768 finally worked; based on Gnome's GUI. Still not good.

If I had to guess, you have a somewhat old Intel chipset (945?). They have hardware limitations which prevent the total virtual screen from being > 2048x2048. It's not so much a bug as an inherent limitation. My old laptop had such a chipset, but my "new" one (Thinkpad T61 with Intel 965) works just fine. I'm running 1440x900 next to 1920x1200.

That's not to say there aren't issues. xrandr manually works great, but the Ubuntu/GNOME display panel/system forgets if you want your primary screen to the right of your secondary screen. Still, this latest setup is the first time I've ever had dual monitors correctly configured with a GUI. KDE 4, at least in some distros, still lacks any xrandr type configuration of multiple monitors.

Re:Partially correct, he is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341144)

Example 1 is just wrong.

Beyond a certain size (determined by your video card), xrandr will use your system RAM for the virtual desktop, which slows things down, but it still works. Perhaps you were using compiz, which is actually limited by your video card's max texture size and cannot be supplemented. For example, I am running a 2840x1050 virtual desktop on a thinkpad t43 (~5 years old).

Re:Partially correct, he is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341194)

Speaking of common dual-monitor problems: with a virtual desktop and unequally-sized screens, you get a mystery area that you are allowed to mouse into (but obviously can't see on your monitors). This is frustrating on a number of levels, and while I've found many complaints about this problem, I've never found a good solution for getting the mouse behavior right. (Windows, for example, just blocks off the area so you can only mouse in the L-shaped area your monitors cover). It's a major issue for me because I use the edge of the screen to bound my mouse movements all the time; with the mouse flying off into nothingness, I mis-click constantly.

Ask Slashdot why They Can't Post Good Questions (0, Troll)

elstonj (892737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340732)

This person obviously has very little experience with Linux and should probably be posting this to something other than the front page of Slashdot. Can't we get some good questions for once? How about ask Slashdot becomes solely a forum for questions to be posted for interviews with influential people? I'm tired of winblows fanboys asking why they can't get Linux to do something it has supported for years.

FVWM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30340738)

Use a better window manager. Nobody else has problem with this because nobody (except you apparently) uses FVWM.

Heh, FVWM... yeah I remember using that like 15 years ago. Trying to be all cool and "Next"-like since this was well before Jobs returned to Apple to create OSX.

Re:FVWM? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341072)

Hey I like fvwm. I use it every day. If you don't like it thats okay. But its bad form to criticise things which you don't understand. Have a nice day.

And since I am having a rant. Does anybody know how to make the gnome window list/task bar not minimise windows? Its driving me mad. Window A is on top of window B. Click B in the window list and it minimises.

No, but if i were to dream... (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340812)

This started tickling my mind since I started using my laptops as multi-monitor devices. I haven't done as much looking around as I should, but I've come to the conclusion that not a single OS I've seen was designed or redesigned with multiple monitors in mind.

As an exercise and as a pie-in-the-sky dream I've been trying to work out what dedicated multi-monitor support would look like. I can't work on it because I've been depressed and having trouble concentrating lately, but this is a summation:

There is a fundamental unit of screen space which is treated as a single desktop; you can have more than one of them across your desktops, and you switch between them with modifier keys and the mouse. If you have multiple input sources, you can bind them to either follow the mouse, or lock them to a desktop or monitor. Monitors always stay at maximum resolution (Yes, FUCK YOU, time-it-takes-to-reset-monitors) even if a desktop changes resolution or switches to "fullscreen application" status, because the optimization isn't done on the video output, but on each desktop's framebuffer, and those framebuffers are combined into the display after the fact. (I assume modern video cards aren't set up this way, but a guy can dream.) Naturally, because the desktop framebuffers are simply blitted to the main framebuffer, you can reorganize them as you like, as long as you don't change their dimensions.

What this means is that screen real estate is actually paid attention to by the OS rather than the window manager saying "Oh hey look another monitor. *glitch glitch glitch* Okay now you can use it." It also fits in with other ideas I have (modular computing, etc) in ways that would make sense if you heard both sides of it, but I don't intend to get into detail about.

I anticipate people coming up with reasons why this will never be made, but that's not really the point; I just dream of the future. It's entirely doable, it's just not likely to catch on, especially since nobody knows the details but me, and I'm pretty unreliable about these sorts of things.

multiple monitors with FVWM for a long time (5, Informative)

bigogre (315585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340838)

I've been using FVWM with multiple monitors for years. xrandr has simplified things considerably. I can drag from one monitor to another with no problem. Below is my current xorg.conf (note that I am running on Fedora 10). You can use a Radeon card by changing the driver to 'radeon'. Use 'lspci' to get the appropriate BusID for your card(s). There may be simpler solutions but this has worked well for me.

And for those saying to use a different window manager please note that FVWM has not stood still but is still true to the name it had when I began using it 15 years ago: the Frugal Virtual Window manager. It is frugal with regards to RAM and CPU use. I also like it because I can edit a file (gasp) to modify the configuration. For old farts like me that's a plus. YMMV.

Section "InputDevice"
# keyboard added by rhpxl
                Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
                Driver "kbd"
                Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
                Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
                Identifier "DVI0"
                Option "Enable" "true"
                Option "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
                Identifier "DVI1"
                Option "LeftOf" "DVI0"
                Option "Enable" "true"
                Option "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Device"
                Identifier "nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GT"
                Driver "nv"
                BusID "PCI:1:00:0"
                #Option "Monitor-DVI0" "DVI1"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
                Identifier "Default Screen"
                Device "nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GT"
                DefaultDepth 24
                SubSection "Display"
                                Depth 24
                                Virtual 3840 1200
                EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
                Identifier "Default Layout"
                Screen "Default Screen"
                InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
EndSection

here's my toolchain (2, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30340852)

xfce, xev, devilspie, xbindkeys, xmodmap, xrandr, vim, man. you can do every crazy thing that comes to mind with this, except window wobbling. i haven't had the need for that, hence no tool for it. reading the man pages won't take more than two hours. you can even use emacs or nano instead of vim with the same great result.

Pretty common really. (2, Interesting)

Sxooter (29722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341028)

Last place I worked we had two monitors for every developer, and we had about 40 developers. Place I work now has 4 developers, and 3 have 2 monitors and 1 has 3 monitors. The one thing we found in both places is that older Nvidia cards work best. 7800 series, stuff like that. Get the latest cards and you'll pull your hair out trying to get them to work.

Is this a joke? (1, Informative)

Johnny Loves Linux (1147635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341090)

I must not be understanding the problem correctly. So help me out please. Is your set up a) 1 desktop stretched over 3 monitors? Yes? b) You want to move be able to movie, say Firefox, or a xterm, etc. from say monitor 1 to monitor 3 using keyboard shortcuts? c) You think a Linux desktop environment can't handle this currently?

If this is the correct setup you have, then you must not be a KDE user. This is trivial with KDE.

  1. alt-tab until the app you want to move has focused.
  2. Hit the Alt+Fkey to maximize the app you want to move until it's no longer fullsize in monitor 1. In my case, I've set up Alt-F6 to maximize/unmaximize a window.
  3. Hit the Alt-Fkey to move the window to the right until it's in monitor 3. In my case, it's alt-f4 to move to the right, alt-f3 to move to the left.
  4. Hit the Alt-Fkey to maximize the app until it's full screen on monitor 3.

Setting the keybindings is trivial in KDE: KDE menu -> Computer -> System Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Global Keyboard Settings -> Select Kwin application -> Select Pack windows to the right -> custom -> Click on wrench -> type shortcut. Ditto on Select Pack windows to the left.

I can't tell if you're trying to troll or you're like one of the "Great Old Ones" from H.P. Lovecraft's mythos who's just awakened from your deep slumber in some forgotten forbidding city up in the mountains. FVWM?!?!?! That's like 1994?!?! Not even FVWM95?!?! I had to double check my debian box to see if you could still get fvwm installed on a system.

I mean no disrespect if you're not trolling. I'm just shocked that someone would still be using *and* preferring fvwm in 2009 when I thought the last fvwm user went extinct in 1999 with the arrival of KDE and Gnome on the scene in 1998.

Re:Is this a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341310)

Put down the exclamation points; you'll put somebody's eye out with those.

Not A Shock (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341122)

Usually development follows demand. Since the numbers of people wanting to use multiple monitors with the options is quite small it is no shock that little work is done in that area. If it were for a commercial OS such as Windows think of how much each buyer might be asked to pay for such a program.

xmonad manages multiple screens rather nicely (1)

nikki93 (1140329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30341142)

'xmonad' is a tiling window manager that I found handles multiple screens nicely. Moving windows between monitors etc. are just the basic features.

Xmonad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341234)

Xmonad is really fantastic with multihead, moving windows (and whole desktops) between screens is a snap.

Multiple Display Linux in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30341254)

Forget something as nice as quick way to switch windows across screens.
Try a multi-screen setup in Linux with 2 seperate single-head cards, especially if they're neither ATI/NVidia.
All but dual-head setups have been 'WontFix' regressions for the last few years.
Unless you want to give up more modern enhancements, you're stuck downgrading...

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