Dual-head config broke with update to 1.4.2

Martin Cracauer cracauer at cons.org
Mon Feb 15 18:19:09 PST 2010

Thanks for all the clarifications, Alex.

I understand the desire to drop the lesser used of two similar
subsystems, but it does present a real problem for me.

To elaborate a little.

Alex Deucher wrote on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 06:16:25PM -0500: 
> > That there will be no way to have different virtual desktop switching
> > on the two screens? Just Microsoft Windows style big span screen
> > support?
> It can be done with zephyr or vnc I think.

What I do with dual screens is this:
- my right screen, the main screen, has virtual desktops, each of them
  holding one "project", where a project is something like:
  - bunch'a xterms and emacsens for hacking project 1
  - a gimp session
  - bunch'a xterms and emacsens for hacking project 2
  - bunch'a xterms for debugging a network problem
- the left screen has one of them things:
  - a bunch of machine monitoring, IRC client, IM and assorted other
  - or else a movie in xine
  - plus other virtual desktops that might holds things like google earth

So when I work I want to switch the left screen between my projects,
but the right screen should stay static.

And I do believe that many other hackers do something similar when
working hard, on code, on a desktop dual-head.  Obviously I can't use
VNC for any of this because it supports neither video output on
hardware 3D.

The "switch and add screen outputs" thing is more for people who like
to run around in meetings and do useless Powerpoint stuff.  Let's say
I take your word for the latter being the larger use base even on
Linux these days (certainly not on FreeBSD I'd say), I would counter
that with claiming that the latter workstyle is something that's
usually Windows or Mac based.  That's all fine, just because a feature
is something that Windows had doesn't make it bad.

But I don't think that it is a good idea to just drop support for
those things that made Unix special in the first place, in favor of
just adding what Windows and Mac had all along.  And I don't think my
work setup is that rare to start from.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

I guess in the end I just doubt that xrandr provides enough of the old
dual-head functionality, which set Unix apart from the more common
OSes, to just drop the alternative.

BTW, I am typing this on the same version X11 server, but with the
NVidia drivers.  And I haven't seen any breakage yet.

> > Can I hack this up in the source? If I kill any trace of the DVI port
> > would it come up with LCD and VGA?
> Yes.  you could skip the enumeration of the DVI and TV outputs in
> radeon_bios.c, however, then you couldn't use those outputs with
> xrandr if you wanted to do that rather than use zaphod.

That would be fine, I don't even have a docking station for this
Thinkpad and there's no chance of me ever using DVI.

Would you say it's likely that if I go this route it will stay working
for some time? The base X11 code seems to be fine still, witness my
NVidia-based desktop.

Martin Cracauer <cracauer at cons.org>   http://www.cons.org/cracauer/
FreeBSD - where you want to go, today.      http://www.freebsd.org/

More information about the xorg mailing list