Setting up a second monitor

James Gray james at
Fri Apr 21 02:03:06 UTC 2006

On Fri, 21 Apr 2006 10:23 am, Jean Hollis Weber wrote:
> James Gray wrote:
> > Indeed - it IS possible but not normally handled "out of the box".  So be
> > prepared to edit some text files and poke around the "back end" of
> > Linux's GUI which is called the "X server".  Read on.
> No problem on editing text files, once someone tells me what to
> change, in words that I can understand. Between you and Daniel
> (and anyone else who is willing to talk at my level), I should be
> able to work this out.
> > First - is it an nVidia or ATi chipset?  Something else?
> Ermmm... I haven't a clue. I'll try to find something that will
> tell me.

No biggie - the "lspci" you quote below tells me it is an Intel Integrated 
Graphics 855GM chipset.  I've never played with those, but we'll see if we 
can get you sorted anyway :)

> > What is the monitor you're trying to plug in (Brand/Model)?
> Samtron 76E. It's a CRT.

OK - so one of these?
If so, (for the archives) it's frequency ranges are:
Horizontal 30-70kHz
Vertical   50-160Hz

(We need these for later on when we configure the second monitor).

> The external monitor was plugged in and powered on when I booted
> Ubuntu. Nothing shows on the second monitor at all.

Bummer - we'll have to edit the xorg.conf file and see how we go.  All is not 

> Here is the result of lspci | grep VGA
> 0000:00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corp. 82852/855GM
> Integrated Graphics Device (rev 02)

Excellent :)  Thanks.

> > Unfortunately, this is the bit that gets
> > little "complicated" and involves editing the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.
> This is what Daniel is walking me through, too, isn't it?


> > You'll need to consult your video driver documentation as to the best way
> > to enable multi-head (the second monitor) in something other than clone
> > mode.
> First I'll have to find some video driver documentation. ;-)

Ah - but with the info you've given me so far, I've turned up this:

and this:

The second of these has a "working" xorg.conf file that you can use as a 
template for your setup.  It's not 100% as the external monitor modeline is a 
bit screwy so just leave it out or comment it out (see below).

The other reference I found that might be useful:

Seems that if you enable Xinerama, you'll loose DRI (accelerated 3D) - if DRI 
is important to you, don't enable Xinerama.  However, if you DON'T enable 
Xinerama, you wont be able to move applications from one screen to the other.  
You will be able to move the mouse etc but apps launched in one screen, stay 
there.  Of course, this can also be a desirable feature for some people :)

> > ...good old xorg have Xinerama which works with almost any
> > multi-monitor-capable video card and I'll write the rest of this based on
> > Xinerama and a "traditional" multi-monitor setup.
> I'll come back to this after I get the monitor working as a
> clone. I think I understood (most of) what you said, which is
> encouraging. :-)

Cool.  Have a look at those URL's and see if you can adapt one of the configs 
to your setup.  It's not too hard to match option-for-option in the config 
file.  Anything after a "#" in the config file is a comment so not used by 


I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.
		-- Lillian Hellman
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