For presentations I want to use the external USB connected video adapter connected to the projector (especially as the standard VGA output in my laptop got damaged).

My idea was to start a dedicated X server on this additional video adapter, and make it available via VNC. Then I can connect to it with xvncviewer to manage the presentation from my main X session (and have additional applications open, which are not visible for the audience).

Hover the problem is, that if I start the X server in this additional video adapter, it uses certain virtual console. As soon as I switch the virtual console to return to my main X session (to access the presentation X server via VNC), the presentation X server stops refreshing (as it sees, that its virtual console is not active).

Is there any way to start the additional X server in such a way, that it keeps refreshing, when I'm working in my main X session?

  • put the answer in an answer, please?
    – mikeserv
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:54
  • I'd rather avoid answering my own question, but as no other responses were published, I've decided to do it. I have removed answer from the "update" and reposted it as an "answer".
    – wzab
    Mar 15, 2015 at 21:51
  • Don't be sorry - sometimes it is inevitable for the more obscure/specialized questions. In those cases the record is important for those that come after.
    – mikeserv
    Mar 15, 2015 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


Sorry for answering my own question, but as no other responses were published, I've decided to do it.

It seems, that I have found a working solution:

  1. I start the X server with the -sharevts flag:

    X -config displaylink.conf -sharevts :2

  2. I start my applications:

    DISPLAY=2: x-window-manager DISPLAY=2: xterm

  3. I start the vnc server:

    x11vnc -localhost -display :2

The displaylink.conf has the following contents:

Section "Device"
  Identifier      "dl1"
  driver          "fbdev"
  Option  "fbdev" "/dev/fb1"

Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier      "Generic Keyboard"
   Driver          "void"
   Option          "CoreKeyboard"

Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier      "Configured Mouse"
   Driver          "void"
   Option          "CorePointer"

Section "Monitor"
   Identifier "monitor0" 

Section "Screen"
  Identifier "screen0"
  Device "dl1"
  Monitor "monitor0"
  DefaultDepth 16

Section "ServerLayout"
  Identifier     "external"
  Screen  "screen0" 
  InputDevice "Generic Keyboard" "CoreKeyboard"
  InputDevice "Configured Mouse" "CorePointer"    
  Option "AutoAddDevices" "Off"

Special case - additional display bigger than the main

Last time I have faced a situation, where the projector used for presentation had higher resolution than my laptop. It resulted in necessity to scroll presentation screen to access menu or toolbar, which was very inconvenient during a lecture.

After some unsuccessful attempts to force the projector to use one of lower resolutions acceptable for the LCD screen of my laptop, I have found, that I can use the "-scale" option in x11vnc. So the 3rd point above should look as follows:

  1. I start the vnc server:

    x11vnc -localhost -scale 1024x768 -display :2

The solution is not perfect, as the desktop image is a little blurred (on the laptop, not on the screen), but I can easily navigate through my presentation and demo applications.

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