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I have a laptop running Ubuntu 9.04 with a dual-head setup: laptop panel + external monitor. I'd like to add another monitor but the laptop has a single VGA port, so my question is:
what are my options for setting up a triple-head system on a Linux laptop?

(note that I'm open to "distributed display" systems such as xdmx, if it's not too messy to set up :) )

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3 Answers

You can use USB monitor. IIRC the Linux have support for those. You can also buy USB to VGA adapter. In any case there may be some problems with graphic card etc.

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I see.. Do you know if there's a list somewhere of USB-to-VGA adapters known to work on recent distributions? Google returns lots of dated and incomplete informations.. :/ –  Joril Jan 19 '11 at 23:07
    
List in kernel sources (choose appropiate version) should give rough idea what kernel devs thinks should work. –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 19 '11 at 23:43
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Matrox have little external boxes that will turn a single VGA into a double or triple VGA or DVI. I ran my laptop with my main laptop screen and 2 external screens using one.

Not sure how well the linux drivers work though. I was using WinXP, the one after that, and OSX at the time on the Thinkpad T60.

From a quick search: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-hardware-18/matrox-triplehead2go-607773/

Money quote here is:

I'm running Ubuntu 7.10 and using three 21" analog CRTs. The secret to getting it to work for me was to install the NVIDIA binary drivers using Alberto Milone's Envy, then using the 'nvidia-settings' application to detect the TripleHead2Go. It recognizes it as a monitor that can do 3840x1024.

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+1 - I'm sure I'd seen reference to getting dualhead2go and triplehead2go working under Linux somewhere. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Oct 14 '11 at 10:14
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Xdmx is not that hard (though it will have issues here and there depending on hardware), and is a good, cheap way to add an extra monitor – you can use an iPad or any other device that supports running an X Server.

IBM DeveloperWorks guide to Xdmx: Distributed multihead support with Linux and Xdmx

EDIT: I've found it much more effective to run Xvnc locally and VNC to the displays it creates -- avoids all the display compatibility issues, all the security issues, has better compression etc...

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