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Thread: Different desktop on each monitor

  1. #1

    Default Different desktop on each monitor

    I have a dual monitor display set up with an extended desktop. I would much rather have a different (independently changeable) desktop showing on each monitor. Is this possible at all in linux?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    If you've already set up an extended desktop, you should have seen there is more than one option for how to configure a dual monitor setup

    There are a couple of different ways to configure dual monitors and it can differ slightly between nvidia and ati cards if you're using the vendor's own software

    You don't state which you're using or how you set up the extended desktop, but it can also be done with either card using Sax2's 'Activate Dual Head' option in the Sax2 monitor screen

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    You'll have to use the mentioned extended mode instead of mirror mode.

    This will give you an additional screen on one monitor, which seems to always open windows on the monitor you don't want them to.. changing the "primary monitor" in the nvidia panel doesn't seem to do much.
    Special effects <- KDE 4.2 Showing off
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    Ah, I forgot to mention the card. It's an NVidia NVS 110M using their proprietary drivers on my laptop. As I mentioned previously, the extended mode is already set up. In SaX2, dual head is already activated with the Xinerama mode (not cloned mode, which is the only other option). All this is working perfectly.

    What I want is whether I can have two *different* independent desktops on each monitor. For example, I want my left screen to be on desktop 1 at one moment and my right screen to be on desktop 8. I don't see any such option off the bat.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    I think you want to have one of your 'multiple desktops' on one monitor and another of them on the other monitor, is that right?

    Looking to have an independent panel, kmenu etc on each monitor?

    If you're trying to do what I think you are I'm not sure it's possible, but you could probably simulate it using your current desktop by adding another panel and dragging it over to the second monitor, then adding any applets you want to use on the second one to the new panel

    The same things which are on your 'normal' panel could be added to the new one (making it pretty much identical to the original one), and if I'm remembering this right, any programs you run from the second monitor's panel should open on the second monitor

    I've not had room on my desk for two monitors in a while so the above is from memory and I can't do it myself here to check myself, but if I'm understanding you right, and my memory isn't failing me (far from impossible!), while it wouldn't be be strictly what you're asking for, the effect of it should be pretty much the same

    A simpler way would be to just drag anything you open on desktop 8 over to the second screen, the only difference I can picture there is no panel on the second monitor and dragging the stuff over could get tedious
    Last edited by Ecky; 13-Jan-2009 at 10:17. Reason: error correction

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    Ah now I see what you're trying to do... You want another virtual desktop on the second monitor.
    Mmmh, no idea if that's possible, hope the term "virtual desktop" is of some help to you at least.
    Special effects <- KDE 4.2 Showing off
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    Thanks for the comments guys; virtual desktop wasn't quite what I had in mind, but thanks for the suggestion. Ecky's almost got it: I want two *independent* views into the *same* (set of) desktops. I don't think Ecky's temporary solution does what I want for my use cases. I think this may very well not be available for Linux anywhere. But I'll give you a simple use case (normally mine are more complex involving up to 9 desktops).

    Say, I have 3 desktops (label them D1, D2, D3), and I'll use this simple notation [D1 D2] means that the left monitor is viewing Desktop 1, and the right is viewing Desktop 2.

    Say I'm working with D1 & D2 on related things and D3 has my e-mail and TODO. So I have [D1 D2] while I do focused work. Then, say, I get an e-mail and switch to [D1 D3]. I get two pieces of feedback - one that affects work in D1 and one that affects stuff in D2. So, I work on [D1 D3] to take the feedback into account, then I switch to [D2 D3] and do similarly. Then I switch back to [D1 D2] to continue working.

    Anyhoo, this workflow is probably not possible in Linux today given what I have found so far. But this was my last attempt just in case anybody knew how to pull it off.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    I think you are after a multihead (in your case dualhead) setup. You will basically require two monitor device, and screen sections in your xorg.conf file. Have a read of this:

    http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/...s_with_XFree86

  9. #9

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    What I think he needs is ten monitors

    marcianx have you looked at the desktop cube in compiz at all?

    Allows you to 'rotate' through a series of desktops, never really seen anyone needing 9 desktops at a time to be honest, but the cube could help go at least some way to what you're hoping to achieve

    As for it not being possible in linux today I think about the only thing it might be possible in is NASA Central!

    Have you actually managed to get what you're talking about working in ANY operating system?

    Your explanation of what you're looking to do is actually somewhat confusing

    'Then, say, I get an e-mail and switch to [D1 D3]. I get two pieces of feedback - one that affects work in D1 and one that affects stuff in D2'

    Where and what exactly is this piece of 'feedback' affecting D2 meant to be when what you say you'll be viewing is D1 and D3?

    Forgive me if I'm being a bit slow here, but how are you expecting to see what's happening on D2 with two monitors when none of those monitors would be displaying D2 at that time?

    Unless you mean that whatever happens on D2 displays on one of the desktops you're actually viewing at the time I can't see how it makes sense, or what the point of having the seperate desktops would be to begin with if any of the desktops were to show what's happening on any of the others

    Someone reassure me that I'm not being a bit thick here and completely misunderstanding the question

  10. #10

    Default Re: Different desktop on each monitor

    Thanks for the suggustions, deano_ferrari. I'd looked into dual X screens before, but this has three important drawbacks:
    1. The desktop sets are not common. I want separate views, not separate sets of desktops.
    2. I can't move an application from the left monitor to the right monitor (I looked into xmove, but it's inconvenient for this usage).
    3. A second Firefox process cannot be started without creating a new profile (understandably).

    All of these cause problems with my usage.
    Thanks.

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