Is it possible to configure for example 4 desktops and switch them separately for each monitor?

  • My intuition says no. What would be the advantage of that feature? Means to say: why would you want that? – Bananguin Mar 10 '13 at 12:58
  • You would want to do that if you wanted to display the contents of different desktops on different monitors. A decade ago I had a set up using X and two separate video cards that allowed me to move each one seperately, but more recently (using a dual monitor card) I tried and wasn't able to figure a way out of "xinerama" mode, where the screens move together, which I find irritating. Good luck. – goldilocks Mar 10 '13 at 13:16
  • I actually haven't tried this with KDE. It looks to me like you should be able to set the monitors independently in System Settings (Hardware) -> Display and Monitor. Have you tried that stuff? – goldilocks Mar 10 '13 at 13:29

I think the following is appropriate to your question, unless you're asking about entirely separate displays and input (like a multi-user/seat setup):

I did this about 10 years ago as well. One "advantage" to the separate desktop setup is.... they're separate. Each monitor is a different $DISPLAY in X. You can run different window managers and DEs in each. The major disadvantage, as I recall, is that.... they're separate. there's no general way to switch a windows from one desktop to another. You'd have to quit the app and restart it on the appropriate display.

Another problem, is this require much mucking about in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and I will freely admit that I haven't had to manually modify that file in many years.

I do not at all remember what I did way back then.

If you had a NVIDIA gpu, which you appear not to have, the nvidia-settings tool will explictely allow you to set the monitors each as a "Separate X Screen". This would eliminate manual modification the xorg.conf and that's generally a good thing.

On the AMD side? Here's a general discussion (old, I know, and not about an amd card, but it still ) that may give you point to start, perhaps: Non-Twinview Non-Xinerama Xorg.com. The key setting is Option "Xinerama" "off" in the Section "ServerLayout" section.

Here's my ServerLayout section from xorg.conf in the separate mode:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    Screen      1  "Screen1" 1920 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"

That pretty much did it. KDE worked, though Panels were only on one monitor. Cinnamon worked, but only in fall-back mode. To get anything on the other monitors, I explicitly had to change the DISPLAY to :0.0 or :0.1 and start another application. It would then appear on the monitor/display indicated. Once I seem to recall having had separate windowmanagers working, but my xorg.conf-fu is lacking these days.

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  • That is indeed a very big disadvantage over just a normal setup. Isn't there an implementation that "fix" these parts? – Dagob Mar 11 '13 at 8:04
  • Yeah: Xinerama :-) I haven't normally run this sort of display for many years, and I'm pretty sure the only reason I did then was because of some issue with my video cards (had two, as I recall) not working properly in Xinerama mode. Then I think I had either separate or duplicate window managers in each display. But I also had to manually edit my X start-up files. Maybe you should look at the Awesome window manager: awesome.naquadah.org I haven't tried it myself, but have seen some positive comments here and elsewhere. – SuperMagic Mar 11 '13 at 11:59

Fedora has recently gained the multiseat capability (supported by a cheap USB box to which you connect monitors, mice, keyboards for different users).

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