Dual Monitors on Kubuntu

As some of the readers may know, some time after I graduated I moved from Coimbra to Lisbon to work, and after an initial somewhat bumpy ride, I landed in here. Shortly after I joined the company, I was given a laptop (with an nVidia graphics card) and an LCD monitor, and one of the first things I did was set up a dual monitor system (the absolute first one was get rid of the Vista installation that came with the laptop, installing Kubuntu instead). After a lot of searching, I found this tutorial. It is specific for nvidia-drivers, I don’t know how much you’d had to tweak it to work with Ati (Ati for Linux pretty much sucks, trust me, I own one). The LCD monitor is placed to the right of the laptop monitor; in my case, I achieved the configuration I wanted like this [excerpt from /etc/X11/xorg.conf]:

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “nVidia Corporation […]”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
Option “RenderAccel” “true”
##This turns on NVidia’s TwinView
Option “TwinView”
Option “TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder” “DFP, CRT”
##Here I’m setting the resolution to the individual monitors.
Option “MetaModes” “1280×1024 1280×800”
Option “TwinViewOrientation” “LeftOf”

The rest of the Screen section was omitted for it was not relevant. This configuration also makes the laptop monitor the “main” one: for example, the KDE login prompt only appears on my laptop monitor. Also, if I maximize a window that is only in one of the screens, it’ll be maximized for that screen only, and not spawn across both screens (but you can of course move windows from one screen to the other, except when they’re maximized: you have restore them in order to move to the other screen).

I post this here in the hopes that, if anyone needs to the same thing (or something similar), this spares you from wasting the afternoon it took me to get it up and running.

Lastly, bear in mind that if the monitors have different heights (in my case the laptop monitor is wide while the LCD is 4:3), funny things can happen🙂

spanned_desktop

The black rectangle does not appear in my laptop desktop, however it counts as space: for instance right-click menus will go there, if you click close to the start bar, making them partially invisible when that happens, which can be somewhat annoying…

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