Rooted with 2 screens?

  • Mike

    Mike - 2001-11-05

    How well does Xfree handle 2 screens in rooted mode?  I've been using Xfree86 4.1 on a single screen system for several months now and I'm very pleased with it.

    I don't have a dual display system presently to test with but we're buying new Macs that include the "GeForce2 MX w/ TwinView" graphics card and we plan to connect 2 screens to each Mac.

    Generally we run rooted here because we use a very specific Sun-hosted window manager.

    Questions regarding rooted mode:
    Can Xfree put the rooted display on either of two monitor?
    Will Aqua apps be usable on one monitor at the same time Xfree is running rooted on the opposite monitor?
    Can rooted expand across both monitors (we could do this with eXodus)?
    Any other info/observations/tips running Xfree rooted with two monitors?

    I haven't tried rootless yet (waiting for a non-alpha release).

    Much Thanks!

    • Greg Parker

      Greg Parker - 2001-11-05

      XDarwin 1.0a3 contains some multi-monitor support via the Xinerama extension. It will be present in XFree86 4.2, coming within a few weeks.

      Multiscreen support is still in progress, but here's what it supports now (4.2 will support the same):
      * Rooted mode uses all screens. It's not possible to run rooted on one screen and Aqua on the other.
      * You can't rearrange the monitors when XDarwin is running. This is a general X Windows limitation.
      * Some X Windows apps don't handle multiple screens very well. In particular, if the two screens have different resolutions or are arranged so the total screen space is not a rectangle, some programs misbehave. Same-size monitors placed side-by-side work best. This is a general X Windows problem.

      The ability to run XDarwin on one screen and Aqua on the other may be added in the future, but there are several technical issues to work out first.

    • Mike

      Mike - 2001-11-05

      Greg - Thanks for the quick response.

      Rooted across both screens as one big rectangle should do fine.  Our monitors would most likely both be set to 1280x1024 (at the same color depth too - millions).

      Has the idea of "rooted within a window" been discussed?  In other words - rooted mode contained in a single (usually large) Aqua window.  This would let you move the Aqua window - running XDarwin rooted inside it - anywhere on any monitor.

      Also, what is the "Xinerama" extension?  Does it come with XDarwin binaries?

      • Greg Parker

        Greg Parker - 2001-11-05

        Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that both monitors must have the same color depth or else it won't work. Another Xinerama limitation.

        Screen-in-a-window has been discussed a little. It would actually be an extension of rootless mode instead of a modification of the current full-screen code. This would be the easiest way to do Aqua on one screen and X Windows on the other.

        Xinerama is the XFree86 extension that allows multiple monitors to act like one big desktop. In older X Windows implementations, each screen was a separate desktop, and you couldn't move windows between them. XDarwin only supports multiple screens with Xinerama on. Xinerama support is not yet in the XDarwin binaries at

    • Mike

      Mike - 2001-11-06

      "Xinerama support is not yet in the XDarwin binaries at"

      Where do I get it?  Will it be included with Xfree86 4.2?

      • Greg Parker

        Greg Parker - 2001-11-06

        It's part of XDarwin 1.0a3. It will also be included in XFree86 4.2.


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