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January 24, 2008

Finally, we’re two!

Filed under: Blog — admin @ 7:51 pm

“Two heads are better than one.”

Not everything is going perfect (I’ll get to that later), but it is an awesome feeling to be able to manage different windows on a 2048-pixels wide workspace.

Dual-Head Setup Photo #1 Dual-Head Setup Photo #2
Dual-Head Screenshot

(Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.)

The laptop is providing the VGA output using the Intel driver that’s included in X.org. However, to get the thing working, I had to edit my xorg.conf by hand. Here’s a list of things that work:

  • The workspace “stretches” across the two displays by using xrandr commands outlined on this page.
  • Applications get sliced across the display using Xinerama and as seen in the first two screenshots, even MPlayer’s x11 video output is perfectly happy with it.

And a list of things that don’t:

  • For some unknown reason (which I’m too chuffed right now to be bothered about), if I specify the display modes explicitly for my laptop LCD screen on line 49 of the xorg.conf linked above, my VGA stops getting a display. Nevertheless, even without specifying display modes, the LCD resolution gets set as expected (1280×800 and 1024×768 for single and dual heads respectively).
  • Xfce’s panel insists on sitting in the right-hand VGA only. Other people are reporting the same behavior for Gnome’s panel and AFAIK, there’s no workaround available at the time being.

I have yet to try a 2560×800 (1280×800+1280×800) configuration but the current resolution is still more than sufficient for some kickass photo/video editing. Also, debugging on one display while vim-ing in the other is a programmer’s paradise. Size does matter, after all.

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