Ubuntu 9.10 Dual Head setup

pkaplan1 at comcast.net pkaplan1 at comcast.net
Tue Nov 3 21:27:45 UTC 2009

Don't know what your hardware is. 

For intel, you would use xrandr. The guis seem to be front end for xrandr and not so great at that. Googling xrandr will get you several pages that will tell you how to place the minimum info into an xorg.conf to define the virtual desktop size (sum of both monitors) and then use the command line to set up your monitors. If you can get that far it should be easy to write a simple xorg file. 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Kiwanuka" <robert.kiwanuka at gmail.com> 
To: "Ubuntu user technical support, not for general discussions" <ubuntu-users at lists.ubuntu.com> 
Sent: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 4:07:40 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: Ubuntu 9.10 Dual Head setup 

2009/11/3 Fred Roller < froller at tnclimited.com > 

Robert Kiwanuka wrote: 
> Hello all, 
> This is becoming an increasingly disturbing problem. When I try to set 
> up dual head (from System > Preferences > Display) I run into the 
> following problems: 
> 1. Whatever the change I make, if I select Apply the screen freezes 
> and the _only_ solution is to power off. 
> 2. The default is to mirror screens but I want One large desktop. 
> There is seemingly no way to change this default behaviour. 
> 3. I work at on least three different laptops each of them needing to 
> use a different second monitor depending on where I take it. For some 
> monitors after selecting the relevant resolutions, it will freeze but, 
> after restarting it will be configured as desired. But for some it 
> insists on mirroring the monitors at boot, which means I cannot use 
> any alternatives! 
> 4. If I start a laptop _and then_ connect the second head then go to 
> System> Preferences>Display to enable it, it _always_ just freezes. 
> Solution is again powering off, which means any work i was doing 
> before that is lost! 
> 5. Whenever I connect the second head, the resolution of the primary 
> one is automatically modified so that windows no longer fit well on it 
> (and this happens for the secondary one too). In the Display dialog it 
> thus becomes difficult to select the options (Apply/Close). In my case 
> I have to rely on the fact that I know what keyboard shortcut to use 
> in this situation, but what does everyone else do is such cases - I'm 
> assuming that other people have had this as it has been repeated on 
> all my laptops so far. 
> 6. Sometimes I'm asked if I want to keep the configuration or return 
> to the previous but sometimes not! Why? 
> 7. I no longer have a good xorg.conf to refer to in order to set what 
> I want with out the GUI interface! 
> Any ideas on how to sort any of that out? Does anyone have a working 
> xorg.conf where they have manually determined the 
> display/monitor/screen settings. I would rather play with that suffer 
> with the GUI where nothing is certain. 
> Regards, 
> Robert 
I don't know how applicable this may be but - with similar issues on 
setting up the second monitor (I use the nvidia interface) it turned out 
a need for running the manager as root. i.e. 

gksu gnome-display-properties 

Tried it. Did not change the outcome but at least it did not freeze time round. 

then before saving removing the old xorg file (actually changing the 
name, paranoid that way.): 

sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.jic 

the removal forces a rewrite with new configs and the changes applied to 
the different monitors I connected. I eventually edited the menu icon 
properties to run as root so I could use the menu item to make changes. 
Don't know if this will help but at least it could enlighten you to a 


"Life is like linux, simple. If you are fighting it you are doing something wrong." 

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