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I recently switched to a new PC at work, one with two (identical, Dell 23") monitors. I'm running Linux Mint 15 64bit / Cinnamon. Is there a way to set it up in such a way that, instead of both monitors sharing the same huge workspace, they are on separate smaller ones? E.g. left monitor on workspace 1, right monitor on workspace 2, and I could switch either monitor to workspace 3 if needed?

Failing that, is there a way to duplicate the bottom panel onto the second monitor? Currently it is only displayed on the left one.

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2  
What graphics card (ati or nvidia or intel or whatever) do you have? –  terdon Jun 26 '13 at 17:22
    
IIRC, when I had a dual-head nvidia, I got this result by enabling "TwinView" (I believe it was called) in the nvidia control panel program. –  Kevin Jun 27 '13 at 3:22
    
There are multiple layers of logic here. At one extreme end, you could have two separate display cards from two separate manufacturers with separate display drivers in your computer, each running a separate X session. At the other end, you could have a single display card with a single X session with a single desktop environment running a single window manager which supports two independent displays. For every "single" in the previous sentence, you could cook up a separate scenario where you have two of something. We need to know much more about your hardware and setup in order to answer. –  tripleee Jun 27 '13 at 6:07
    
... And not all drivers, desktop environments, window managers etc support multiple displays. Many people want "single" as far down as possible because that makes it easier to communicate between the two displays (drag windows over, copy/paste stuff, etc) and even if you want the displays to be independent, you probably want some of those features, if your display stack only supports it. –  tripleee Jun 27 '13 at 6:12
    
@terdon: Settings > System Info tells me it's an "AMD nee ATi RV720 GL [FirePro V3750]". –  Swooper Jun 27 '13 at 11:11

3 Answers 3

Short answer: yes, you can do this. I have my (Fedora) desktop set up this way, each monitor is an independent display. It is the same 'desktop', in the X sense, but there are some limitations to typical desktop functionality with this setup versus the 'single desktop spread over two monitors' configuration. [For example, you can't drag a window from one monitor to the other, or even drag a file from a folder on one monitor and drop it in a folder displayed on the other monitor.]

Still, I prefer independent displays. For me it is natural to cycle workspaces on one monitor independently of the workspace displayed on the other monitor. I will warn you - some people are pretty zealous about which way is the 'correct way', so prepare to wade through a lot of noise and ranting if you research how to do what you want to do. I have had many people dismiss my efforts to achieve this setup because they felt it was pointless and "no sane person would want things to work that way".

As another user has pointed out, some desktop environments support independent displays and others do not. I was happily using Gnome as my desktop, for ten years or more, until the 3.0 series of Gnome (which lost the capability to support independent X displays on a single desktop ... and it appears that the Gnome development community do not have an interest in resurrecting this capability). Earlier versions of Cinnamon Desktop had this capability, but with Fedora 19 or 20 I can longer achieve it with Cinnamon. I am stuck with Xfce at the moment.

In order to achieve independent X displays, I had to carefully craft an xorg.conf file. For my hardware, using the proprietary nvidia driver, the key seems to be to identify multiple Devices using the same BusID, but to then use the 'metamodes' option for each Screen section to uniquely identify the port associated with each monitor in your setup.

Here is my xorg.conf:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    Screen      1  "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Section "Files"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/default/Type1"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "DELL"
    ModelName      "P2411Hb"
    HorizSync       28.0 - 33.0
    VertRefresh     43.0 - 72.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "Quadro K2000M"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"
    Screen          0
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor1"
    VendorName     "DELL"
    ModelName      "P2411Hb"
    HorizSync       28.0 - 33.0
    VertRefresh     43.0 - 72.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "Quadro K2000M"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"
    Screen          1
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-2: nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Hopefully that gets you started. I have not found a gui tool in any Desktop Environment that reliably creates an xorg.conf supporting independent displays. My advice is to start with any 'X configuration generator' tool that comes with your chosen video driver (for example, nvidia's nvidia-xconfig) and see if you can use my example, above, to guide your trial-and-error.

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Found this on the Ubuntu Forums in a thread titled: gnome panels on two monitors.

excerpt

I believe what you want is the following:

  1. You have to right click the panels on Monitor #1 and choose "New Panel"
  2. Then hold Alt and click and drag the new panel to Monitor #2.

NOTE: "Expanded" Panels always "cling" to the edges of your physical screens and hence are unable to span across 2 monitors, this is by design.

I believe all of the dual head screenshots that appear to have 2 panels stretched across are just clever layouts of 4 separate panels.

Issue with MATE?

I also came across this ticket in the Linux Mint issue tracker, which to summarize is saying that currently in MATE this feature isn't available.

References

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There is no "New Panel" option when I right click the existing panel. –  Swooper Jun 27 '13 at 11:07
    
@Swooper - What options do you have in the context menu that pops up when you click on the existing toolbar? Also see my updates. –  slm Jun 27 '13 at 14:10
    
Settings (which expands to show a few links to relevant system settings like themes, panel settings etc.), Troubleshoot (which expands to show Restart Cinnamon, Looking Glass and Restore all settings to default), Panel edit mode (on/off toggle), Panel settings and Add applets to panel. –  Swooper Jun 27 '13 at 16:05

Check out this, that's your answer perhaps.

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