help needed with multi-headed, multi-server client

Rob Harris rob.harris at
Mon Jun 12 10:30:37 PDT 2006

All, I apologize if this is trivially easy, but I have yet to find an FM to

Basically, I have 30 servers all running xdm. I want to build one client
machine with 5 monitors but one shared keyboard and mouse with
each monitor attached to a single individual instance of X pointed at a
shared chooser such that when someone sits down at the machine, they can
select any five machines they want and view them all at the same time.

I'm starting slow with a machine with two video cards. I can "xinerama" them
just fine, so I know the hardware part of the puzzle is ok. So I configured
my xorg.conf:

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "x0"
        Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
        InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
        Option  "SingleCard" "true"
Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "x1"
        Screen      1  "Screen1" 1 0
        InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
        Option  "SingleCard" "true"

and if I'm remotely xterm'd in and run:

# startx -- :0 layout x0 &
# startx -- :1 layout x1 &

It seems to do what I want... (I wish I could mount between them, but that
comes later) however, when I <ctrl>-<alt>-F# between them, the "non-active"
monitor returns to it's textual mode state.

Is there any way I can tell X to always leave each head in it's active state
when switching VTs so that I can see both servers at the same time? I can
provide more specifics if needed.


Rob Harris
  Technological Pragmatist and "Coder for Hire"
  rob period harris shift-2 gmail decimal-point com
  "Life is not a zero-sum game." --George Carlin
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