On 6/4/07, John Nielsen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
On Saturday 02 June 2007 04:00:57 pm Kevin Kinsey wrote:
> Jim Capozzoli wrote:
> > Hello list,
> >
> > I have 3 monitors and 3 video cards.  However, one videocard and
> > monitor isn't very "X11 friendly." (X11 barely starts on it).  I was
> > wondering if it would be possible to have X11 running on two of the
> > monitors, and then have a full screen console (like a ttyv0) on the
> > third monitor (so I could constantly leave top or something sweet
> > running on there :D).  This is all with FreeBSD 6.2/i386 and Xorg 6.9
> > or 7.2.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.
> It should do "do-able", perhaps somewhat easily.
> /usr/ports/x11-servers/x2x is what comes to mind --- IIRC, Greg "groggy"
> Lehey of "The Complete FreeBSD" fame uses this for several displays, and
> has notes on his setup in her personal pages at www.lemis.com.

That link is here: http://www.lemis.com/grog/hardware.html

However, I'm not sure x2x is relevant to the OP--It can be used to allow one
mouse and keyboard to be used on multiple X servers, but doesn't have
anything to do with console mode.

I don't know if the setup the OP wants is possible or not, but here are some

The FreeBSD console always runs on the "primary" display as determined by the
BIOS. Most systems give you a choice between using AGP or PCI as the primary
display. If you have multiple PCI cards it is usually the first one on the
bus (physically this is often the one closest to the CPU). Not sure how ISA
figures in. You will want to make your "bad" videocard and monitor the
primary display.

Once you have that, I'd just run an "Xorg -configure" to get started. If X
comes up at all using the config generated from that then it will be a good
starting point. Try commenting out the device and screen sections (and
possibly also a line under ServerLayout) for your "bad" display and see if X
comes up on the other two. By default it expects to be running on the console
so I'm not sure what will happen here. You also want it to grab the keyboard
and mouse unless you have a second keyboard. Some trial and error and further
research are probably required. Play with startx vs xdm, see what happens
when you press ctrl-alt-f1, etc. I'm assuming you'll want to use Xinerama to
join the two X displays and allow window-dragging between them, etc.

If you don't get acceptable results using your original plan, you can always
hack together your own "console" to run on the weakest display under X (using
the vesa driver if necessary). If possible (not sure it is), don't make it
part of your Xinerama display. Then don't run a window manager on it. Use
xsetroot as part of your X init script to control what's on the background.
This will apply to your entire display but the WM will probably take over
once it starts on the "good" screens. You could make one or more scripts to
run things on your "bad" screen by doing something like this:

DISPLAY=:0.1    #might also be :0.2 or :0.0
export DISPLAY
xterm -r -geometry 120x60 /usr/bin/top

Experiment with the geometry settings to see what fills your screen
appropriately. You might also want to get a nice bitmap font to give the
xterm more of a terminal "feel". I have one I stole from bochs or somewhere
that's not bad (I use it for Nethack). E-mail me off-list if you want it.

That should just about do it. Do write back to the list to tell us what you
learn and what works the best.


I like the not making it a part of the Xinerama display..that would be
interesting, because I'm sure a very basic X11 background with a xterm
would work on there.  If X starts on there, then yeah great but the
problem is I don't ever recall getting it to work properly.

What I had in mind however, is say having the weak monitor/card as the
'default' display that the BIOS picks up, and then leaving a console
on there BUT having X11 on the two other monitors.  Then I'd run top
on it or something, so I"d have a command like...

$ startxfce4 & top -s 1

And then on the 'default' BIOS chosen display, you would see top
running in console mode, and then pretty xfce with nice 1280x1024 ver
monitor resolution on the other two (using Xinerama).  I wouldn't need
to have keyboard/mouse control on the 'default' console then, I'd just
look at it to see which process is eating the machine, load averages,

Thanks for the ideas so far guys.

Jim Capozzoli
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