Ooooooh. Shiny!

When I built this computer I bought two very nice monitors to go with it.

I then promptly discovered that I had *no idea* how to make two monitors work under linux. X configuration is dark magic to me. Consequently the second monitor got shunted to my other machine and I’ve had a spare old monitor kicking around for a while.

However, my computer recently died and I had to reinstall, and in doing so and poking around with video settings I discovered that the “nvidia-settings” program includes support for making multiple monitors work flawlessly. A few quick clicks and I had the two monitors working side by side very nicely. Yay!

I do however note that Gnome doesn’t handle them that well. This will probably induce me to finally get off my ass and try a better window manager. I tried Enlightenment earlier, but E16 didn’t work, the repository version of E17 is kinda unstable (not to mention Enlightenment is *really confusing*, but I’m sure I’d get used to it) and I haven’t quite worked up the courage/botheredness to install the CVS version yet.

Anyone know what a good window manager is for use with xinerama? Should I be giving XMonad a try?

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7 thoughts on “Ooooooh. Shiny!

  1. ephemient

    Hmm, I’ve never tried E16 or E17 with multiple monitors. That sounds interesting…

    XMonad works quite well with multiple monitors, but it’s not “easy” to use.

    From my experience, Gnome’s multiple-monitor support is only a little worse than Xfce’s and KDE’s, which are tolerable. So I’m a bit curious as to what problems you ran into.

  2. David R. MacIver

    Woops, braino there. Thanks for the catch. I’ve fixed it now. :-)

    Gnome’s support for multiple monitors isn’t exactly “bad”. It’s just very basic as far as I can tell – it’s totally non-obvious to me how to make it do anything interesting.

    Maybe this is a case of me not being able to figure it out more than it not being there though. Trivial example: I’d like to be able to move a window to the corresponding spot on the other monitor (via the keyboard). There don’t appear to be any hooks for me to actually do this with.

  3. Daniel

    I have no experience with xmonad and multiple monitors yet, but I’m a happy xmonad user. I wouldn’t recommend it to my mom, but I find myself spending considerably less time managing my screen real estate.

  4. David R. MacIver

    I got used to the feature when I was on windows using an extension called ultramon. It’s rather nice to have.

    I wasn’t particularly looking for the feature built in. I was more looking for hooks into the window manager’s handling of multiple screens, and couldn’t find any for gnome.

    Anyway, I’m giving xmonad a try now. I’m tentatively very impressed. It handles multiple monitors rather nicely, is very keyboard driven (which I love) and rather to my surprise I’m really liking the tiling effect.

  5. Jeremy Shaw

    I would recommend giving xmonad a try. You can either use the release version, or just use the latest darcs version. I have been updating to darcs head daily since almost day one, and have never had a problem.

    xmonad has first class support for xinerama. I have not used it on a multihead machine, but a number of core developers do.

    If you have never used a tiling window manager, the first few days will be a bit weird. But, once you figure out the usage pattern that you like, and tweak a few config settings, it is quite pleasant.

  6. David R. MacIver

    You’re too late. :-) I switched to XMonad on saturday, took to it almost immediately and haven’t looked back since (modulo a few issues with interaction with dzen which seem to be sorted now. I hope).

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