When using my laptop at home, I usually use an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse with my laptop's screen as a second monitor. This is all easily configured using a nice GNOME utility that I assumes uses xrandr on the backend.

Sometimes I enjoy using my computer via a TTY. I would like to be able to switch over to TTY1(using ctrl+alt+f1) and have the tty appear on my external monitor at the resolution of my external monitor. Rather, it usually either appears on just my laptop screen, or on both monitors but at the resolution of my laptop's screen.

Is there anyway to do this seamlessly on Ubuntu 10.10?

(I'm guessing it doesn't matter, but I've set it such that screen launches automatically from ~/.profile).

  • 1
    MultiseatX gives you independent displays, but there's no easy way of switching input devices between them and I'm not sure if it's possible to mix X and console. What if you just ran X normaly with a fullscreen terminal on one monitor?
    – ephemient
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 18:47
  • @ephemient: Full screen terminal is what I do most of the time. However, it doesn't handle the case where I've switched to a TTY to take care of some problem caused by my wonky hardware. The fact that I haven't been able to get the TTY on the screen I want constantly adds insult to injury when I'm trying to recover from a too-slugish-to-use gnome session.
    – Steven D
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


Here is a Google Doc with the correct links. No proven solutions, but here are some ideas:

The kernel framebuffer draws the console if there is no X11. Perhaps you can exclude the second display from you X config?

I think the way to go (think because I havent done this myself, I like the full screen term) is to configure your external monitor as a separate framebuffer. Now you'll have one fb for the console and one for X11.

I have found several con2fb, which maps a tty to a framebuffer, something like "con2fb /dev/fb2 /dev/tty5" but can not find where to download it. Another fan had a similar search and the source is posted here.

Also check out this doc, especially 14.9 and this multihead howto that both discribe con2fb.

Im thinking you could then take turns sending a tty to /dev/fb2 or extending your desktop... maybe xrandr?

Another way to try could be a multiseat set up. This typically has separate multiple kb and mouse for each display, but you could use Synergy2, and external kvm switch, custom config with hotkeys....? xorg xfree

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .