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New KScreen Supplies Some Magic For Multi-Monitor Linux Set-Ups 183

Posted by timothy
from the more-magic-always-welcome dept.
An anonymous reader points out developer Àlex Fiestas's work on multiple monitor configuration for Linux. In particular, the screen manager that he and Dan Vrátil are working on — KScreen — gives KDE users a utility "making the configuration of monitors either auto-magical or super simple." This is one thing that's certainly gotten much better in recent years for Linux GUI users in general, but the video in the linked post makes me a little envious — another good reason to swap desktops once in a while.
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New KScreen Supplies Some Magic For Multi-Monitor Linux Set-Ups

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  • When I was a kid... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:05PM (#42405055)

    The first time I ran X on my home computer, I had to call Diamond to get the timings for my SpeedStar card so I could calculate the correct values to put in my xconfig file. And the person who answered the phone knew exactly what I needed, flipped thru a binder, and read off the numbers.

  • Suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:16PM (#42405139)

    A suggestion to the developers. Please allow for degenerate cases. I deal with a set of old, specialized, practically irreplaceable displays that cannot produce DPMS data. In the past I've suffered with embedded displays that produce completely inaccurate DPMS data.

    Allow the operator a means to manually override whatever display parameters your software obtains (probably via xrandr) from the operating system. The display parameters are often bogus and must be corrected.

  • by codewarren (927270) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:46PM (#42405359)

    Which one of those lets me start an application on one machine and then continue using it on another machine like Windows has been able to do for well over a decade?

    With all the praise that X gets for its network transparency, it's mostly unusable except on the highest bandwidth links because its synchronous calls and uber-chattiness make it unusable without adding a wrapper around it, like NX does. That's the irony. Pretty much any protocol can be called "network transparent" as long as that includes writing a suitably complicated wrapper for it. In this regard, X is no more network transparent than any other display technology.

  • by hgesser (605301) <h...g...esser@@@gmx...de> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:22PM (#42405623) Homepage

    The article says: "This is one thing that's certainly gotten much better in recent years for Linux GUI users in general..." -- I cannot agree. While connecting a beamer to a notebook is simpler today, support for multiple monitors (of a desktop machine) is far from where it was some years ago. For years I had been able to disable the (default) Xinerama options, so I could have two separate instances of (e.g. KDE 3) running on both screens. That allowed me for example to stay on virtual desktop 1 on the left monitor and cycle through my virtual desktops on the right monitor. (Imagine lots of data sources on the right screen and some application I use to combine stuff on the left monitor; I want to switch desktops without the left monitor changing its content). This is still possible today, but it's a lot harder and depends on what kind of graphics card you use. Granted, my old way required knowledge of the xorg.conf syntax, but once it was finished it gave me maximum configurability. Last time I checked, KDE 4 wasn't able to start two instances on :0.0 and :0.1 properly which is why I'm still using KDE 3 (a.k.a. "Trinity" today).
    Hans-Georg

  • Re:WOW!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witnessNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:28PM (#42405665) Homepage Journal

    Not to bait you but you didn't actually debunk his post, are there any Win users here that use multiple monitors to give us a comparison?

    No longer a Windows user; but Windows does not have any where near the same level of functionality for multi-monitor support the Linux does.
    Here's a little glimpse:

    - Windows allows you to either clone the monitors (e.g. presentation mode) or have one really big desktop that spans all the monitors; but applications can only min/max on one monitor; you can stretch an application to cross both monitors, but the max function provided by Windows won't do that.
    - Windows leaves much of the multi-monitor support to the drivers. if you have several display adapters they better work well together at the driver level or you won't get multi-monitor. At work we tried adding a second monitor to a Windows system (2008 Server I think) but the driver for the second card would only work with other drivers that had WDM support; which the main card did not.
    - As of WinXP SP3 Windows does provide a nice built-in utility for manipulating mutli-monitor support when it is available, but it's very limited. Usually you'll get more functionality out of the driver tools (e.g. nVidia's ControlPanel) that will let you do a bit more. In no cases do any of those tools provide the flexibility of what Linux provides.

    This is true even of Windows 7; and given the lack of differences for Win8 I would assume so there to - those from what I have seen, Windows 8 will put the Metro interface on one monitor and the Desktop interface on a second monitor by default; so you're dual-head display is now essentially a single head display for with two different environments on each monitor. Might be the only way to use Windows 8 without getting rid of Metro.

  • Re:WOW!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rev0lt (1950662) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:22PM (#42406043)

    Workstations users need that all the time, they just can't get it from Windows.

    Given that you have _several_ X Servers for Windows (some of them free), I can't see why not. What I can see is Linux distros like Ubuntu or Mint with completely broken XDMCP funcionality, and its a trending issue - that alone somewhat reflects the usage that kind of feature has nowadays. And the problems usually don't end with XDMCP.

    Workstations users need that all the time, they just can't get it from Windows.

    I don't know what a "workstation user" is. I know a lot of "workstation users" that only use Microsoft Office and Outlook. I also know a lot of them that use Adobe Photoshop extensively, so it appears that you have problems distinguishing the forest from the trees. I myself am a "workstation user", and use both Windows and X server on Windows, and have no need whatsoever in executing remote GUI applications over X.

    Do you even understand what this is about? All this IS IMPLEMENTED in nice UI, the article is about a new KDE utility for it.

    And the point is that this is pretty much a standard feature of other operating systems, such as Windows. Without requiring you to use a specific WM/DE or installing a shitton of libs. It is 10 years late, and as the video shows, many laptops even assume the SO has that capability to the point of having a marked shortcut for it.

    And there is nothing OSS/free in the *nix world vaguely near Terminal Services. Internally, the desktop compositing is somewhat similar to X, but works way better over slow links, with the plus of actual audio support, resource sharing (disks and printers), and a _usable_ clipboard (still waiting on that on *nix). The case usage of TS is somewhat different from remote GUI applications, but from what I see on a daily basis, way more useful.

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