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Old 09-03-2011, 04:21 AM   #1
Doc CPU
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Ubuntu/GNOME dual monitor setup: Preferring the primary monitor


Hi there,

this is the first time I'm starting a thread here myself, because so far I couldn't find answers to my questions elsewhere. Actually, they're very specific and, it seems, unusual.

I'm using a dual-monitor setup with Ubuntu 10.10 ("maverick") and the standard GNOME desktop. All installed packages are up to date. I configured the two monitors side by side, so that they yield a very wide desktop.

One monitor is a 19"/1280x1024, which I consider the "primary" screen.
The other is a 20"/1600x1200 used for special work.
My graphics adapter is a RADEON 9200 PCI with VGA and DVI driven by the open-source RADEON driver supplied with Ubuntu (even though I don't think that matters for my concern).

However, I'd like to operate the system with only the primary monitor powered up, and switch the other on only when I need it. But when I boot the system with only the primary monitor turned on, X will detect only this one monitor, and the desktop will not extend to the secondary monitor when I switch it on.

So here's my bunch of questions:
  1. Can I disable auto-detection of monitors at startup and instead configure the system to always assume the presence of the secondary monitor?
  2. How can I make the window manager (metacity) always open new windows on the primary monitor, so that I'll have to drag them to the other monitor when I'm using it? I see that this may conflict with applications that memorize and restore their window position and size on their own, but let that be a separate issue.
  3. If 1. and 2. cannot be answered positively, I'll have to keep booting the system with both monitors powered up. However, for best balance between economy and convenience - is there a way to make only the secondary monitor enter its power-save state? Say, from the console? Likewise, I'll have to wake it up that way. I do not use a screensaver, though.

Thanks in advance for all answers and ideas.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 09-04-2011, 09:37 PM   #2
cascade9
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You should be able to create an xorg.conf file that will stop the auto-detection problem-

sudo Xorg -configure
 
Old 09-05-2011, 05:58 AM   #3
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
You should be able to create an xorg.conf file that will stop the auto-detection problem-

sudo Xorg -configure
thank you so far, I'll try that tonight - though last time I tried to create an xorg.conf, my X server didn't even start afterwards until I deleted the file again.

But even so - that leaves the problem that every now and then the window manager decides to open a new window on the secondary monitor where I can't see it when that monitor is turned off. That's why the second requirement I mentioned (new windows should always open on the primary screen) is an important part of the scenario.

[X] Doc CPU
 
  


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