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Old 10-03-06, 12:21 AM   #1
vacode
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Default Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Hi,

I have a GeForce 7600GT video card and I'm wondering if it is possible to run two independent X sessions when using the NVidia driver.

To clarify what I mean, I would like to do the following:

Connect two monitors, two usb keyboards, and two usb mice. Start two, independent, X sessions that are isolated from each other, but running simaltaneously.

I think multi-seat linux is the most common term I've seen for the setup, but have seen several people claim they don't think it is possible. If anyone can give me a more definative answer with an explanation of why it will or will not work, I would really appreciate it.

Ryan
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Old 10-03-06, 07:58 AM   #2
andersja
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Post Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

This should be possible - indeed I plan to do exactly this (WITH Compiz!) on a new PC I ordered a few days ago if I figure out how.

Here are some links to get you started, incl how to set up two X screens with the nvidia linux driver:

http://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/L...ppendix-p.html

http://netpatia.blogspot.com/2006/09...th-ubuntu.html

http://linuxgazette.net/124/smith.html

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MultiseatX
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Old 10-03-06, 10:19 AM   #3
vacode
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersja
Thank you. The setup in that article is exactly what I've been trying to find.

Ryan
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Old 10-03-06, 10:23 AM   #4
andersja
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Cool. Happy to help. Please share with us if you have any success!
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Old 10-03-06, 11:00 AM   #5
vacode
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

I'll probably be working on it casually over the next couple of weeks, so I'll post replies here if I find anything interesting.

After reading my initial post I realize I should clarify what I meant by 'not possible'. In the last article posted above the author writes:

Quote:
You will require a separate keyboard, mouse, and graphics card for each seat. Graphics cards with dual outputs can not, in general, be used for separate seats using this method, although they can be used to create a seat with dual monitors.
This is the scenario to which I was referring. As far as I know, dual head video cards can not be used in the exact same manner as two independent video cards. With two seperate video cards it is possible to create a seperate xorg.conf for each card and start two instances of X; one for each configuration. From the information I've been able to find, multi-head video cards need to be set up using the same xorg.conf. This means you only get one core pointer / keyboard and your mouse will still move between screens. The second article posted by andersja is probably the best solution I have seen to date.

Keep in mind, I don't have a clue how the driver handles this situation and can not explain why things work the way they do.

If anyone can give a more technical explanation of my scenario, or correct me, please post a reply.

Ryan
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Old 10-03-06, 02:05 PM   #6
andersja
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

I have a sneaking suspicion / hope that the description here can do the trick (but haven't got my new PC to try it out yet):

http://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/L...ppendix-p.html

Anyway - let us know how you get along! This is DEFINITELY a selling point for linux; both in the homes (imagine 1 PC for 2 family members) or at schools, internet cafees etc.
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Old 10-03-06, 05:39 PM   #7
mold
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Unfortunately, I don't believe it's possible with just one dual-head card. It's been a while since I've tried, but you'll get errors in the second X server regarding the card already being in use. If you have a second video card it will work just fine though, as long as each card is in one X server only.
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Old 10-04-06, 01:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Correct what you want is not possible. You want to connect two keyboards and mouses which requires the running of two Xservers. You can easily run two Xservers but an Nvidia card can only output to 'one Xserver' at a time. So when Xserver has 'focus' that desktop shown and the way around for Xserver 2.

The reason that this doesn't work is that the Nvidia drivers internally use some tricks to cut the card into 'two videocards'. This trick only works when both 'cards' are in the same Xsession (Xserver).
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Old 10-04-06, 03:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderbird
Correct what you want is not possible. You want to connect two keyboards and mouses which requires the running of two Xservers.
The solution shown in article 3 (and 2) shows that this is not true. You can solve it using evdev and Xephyr.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:44 AM   #10
vacode
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

I've been making some progress on this. I've also found this article quite useful:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Multite...ephyr_download

I'm having difficulty with the keymaps at the moment though.
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Old 10-19-06, 06:47 AM   #11
andersja
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

vacode, how are you progressing?

Also - I am curious whether these solutions allow for running a full compiz/beryl setup (on one? both?) workstations
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Old 10-24-06, 09:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Is it possible to have independent X sessions with the NVidia driver?

I currently have 2 independent X sessions running with Xephyr on my single card FX5500. I had to use gdm (2.14.10) and Xorg (7.1.1 - can't do it with 6.8 or lower without patching). Don't use the xserver-xephyr package from the debian repository. You need to patch it or use the precompiled version at the wiki:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Multiterminal_with_Xephyr

Here's another good web site to get you started:
http://netpatia.blogspot.com/2006/09...ets-start.html
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