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Since modern PCs can use two screens at the same time I wonder if it is possible to plug in two keyboards and mouses as well to have the two screens run two (more or less) independent X-sessions at once?

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related: Setting up a multiseat configuration (@SU) – Tobias Kienzler Dec 31 '10 at 19:31
up vote 14 down vote accepted

In short, yes, this is possible. The relevant search string you are looking for is "Multi-seat X".

The Ubuntu wiki, Gentoo wiki, Debian wiki and Arch wiki all have articles related to multi-seat X. A number of other articles can be found on the Xorg wiki page on multiseat and even more can be found on google.

From what I can tell from these articles, there are two ways to do this:

  • Multiple X servers, or
  • Using Xephyr on top of Xorg.

Which of these methods will work for you will depend on the version of Xorg you are running and your hardware. Multiple X servers seem to be the easier route if your hardware setup supports it. There is also work to be done with the display manager, sound server, and other components -- much of which is covered in the various articles linked above.

Additionally, there is a multiseat display manager (MDM) to automate these configurations. It's not yet integrated in most distributions, though (the mdm package in Ubuntu is a homonym).

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awesome, I'll try that soon, thanks! will it work with hardware acceleration (openGL)? – Tobias Kienzler Dec 31 '10 at 19:20
@Tobias, I'm not sure. I don't immediately think there would be a problem, but that is just a hunch. – Steven D Jan 3 '11 at 19:02
sounds great, now I only have to get it setup... – Tobias Kienzler Jan 5 '11 at 15:06

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