When I configured VNC server there were strings

VNCSERVERARGS[1]="-geometry 800x600"

When I connected via VNC and run w command, I saw that current display is :1.

[oracle@localhost ~]$ w
 06:53:24 up 11 days, 22:15,  2 users,  load average: 0.38, 0.16, 0.10
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
root     pts/1    win-73viuifj4th  06:39   23.00s  0.04s  0.04s -bash
oracle   pts/2    :1.0             09Sep15  0.00s  0.01s  0.00s w

I can't get the display meaning. :0 mean that this is physical display of the current machine, but what :1 and :2 mean?

  • :0 mean that this is physical display ... not necessarily. It's simply the X session started with DISPLAY set to :0. – muru Sep 18 '15 at 3:16

:0. :1, :2 all are display nembers (also display names for a single motinor on the same host). If multiple X servers are running on the host then their displays are numbered as incremental values like :X starting from :0 to uniqely identify each one.

Quoting the DISPLAY NAMES section from man 7 X :

Display Names

From the user's perspective, every X server has a display name of the form:


This information is used by the application to determine how it should connect to the server and which screen it should use by default (on displays with multiple monitors):


The hostname specifies the name of the machine to which the display isphysically connected. If the hostname is not given, the most efficient way of communicating to a server on the same machine will be used.


The phrase "display" is usually used to refer to collection of monitors that share a common keyboard and pointer (mouse, tablet, etc.). Most workstations tend to only have one keyboard, and therefore, only one display. Larger, multi-user systems, however, frequently have several displays so that more than one person can be doing graphics work at once. To avoid confusion, each display on a machine is assigned a display number (beginning at 0) when the X server for that display is started. The display number must always be given in a display name.


Some displays share a single keyboard and pointer among two or more monitors. Since each monitor has its own set of windows, each screen is assigned a screen number (beginning at 0) when the X server for that display is started. If the screen number is not given, screen 0 will be used.

  • Does it mean that if I'll plug one more display to my computer, I can connect to computer with :0 screen or :1 and control both screen? – kozlone Sep 20 '15 at 10:02
  • @kozlone if another screen is added under the same xserver you can access the first one as :0.0 & the second one as :0.1.. if the are on different xservers then the first one would be :0.0 or simply :0 & the second one wound be :1.0 or simply :1 – heemayl Sep 20 '15 at 12:18
  • Now I get it :-) – kozlone Sep 20 '15 at 12:26

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