Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Mon 29th Aug 2011 09:50 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces "Recently, Brendan and I have been arguing about what can reasonably be expected from a multi-monitor OS (among other graphical stack things). We've reached the conclusion that nothing replaces real-world user data. So anyone interested, please answer this survey about multi-monitor setups and expectations ! (Results will be published here once the amount of answers has reached a steady state, I'd say in a month at worst)" (Source)
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my experience
by fran on Mon 29th Aug 2011 12:07 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

From my own experience. (sorry for mistakes…don’t have much time for proofread now)
In many working environments a multi-monitor is a necessity not a luxury. (Do you hear boss?)

My progression went as follows.
I first worked on a single 19" LCD.
Only one screen could realistically be opened at a single time.
To split my accounting application and excel spreadsheet in that screen is impractical.
To save time I relied a lot on printing and also when detailed email instruction was received in Outlook I had to print that out also.
Not to mention the time of frequently open and closing applications.

Second
I got a 23" LCD
Now I can split my screen while enough visible fields.
Now I save time and printing costs. Not to mention your productivity.

It also is great for leisure.
When you play a game it's also more immersive.
Also when I open up Kindle through its Chrome extension in one screen and open a developer book like "PHP cookbook" or something I can do the exercises on the other second screen.
That second screen is split into notepad or php designer and a browser.
So it is a great learning setup also.

third
I got a second 23"LED
Now I usually have windows open at once. One full screen and the other split.

Some things some people should now.
Buy your LCD or LED with maximum inputs.
For instance the cheaper ones only have D-Sub inputs. Get one with DVI and/or HDMI.
There are just so many models still on the market with only D-Sub that some less informed people frequently make the mistake of going for the "special" only to realise the mistake later.

You also might run into difficulty setting up a multi monitor setup with only D-Sub. D-Sub is not supported in most of today’s graphics cards.

Also you don’t need an expensive workstation graphics card to run two or sometimes more monitor setups.
Check the outputs on your planned or current graphics card. Many graphics cards come with 1 DVI and 1 Hdmi output. You can still run multi monitor setup with these. You might need an adapter though. But they are cheap. (For DVI there is HDMI adapters..no quality loss)

Install two or more browsers.
Install two or more spreadsheet programs.
For instance now you can have two spreadsheet open alongside each other like Gnumeric and Excel. This is handy with some tasks.

My conclusion.
With the increased productivity and lesser printing costs that bigger or second monitor pays for itself very quickly. It's also great for studying.

some other links
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/helpdesk/reasons-to-have-dual-moni...

http://blog.gurock.com/articles/why-developers-need-a-multi-monitor...

Reply Score: 5

RE: my experience
by WereCatf on Mon 29th Aug 2011 12:32 UTC in reply to "my experience"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Install two or more browsers.


Why? You can just use ctrl+n to open a new window and move that other window to the 2nd monitor.

My conclusion.
With the increased productivity and lesser printing costs that bigger or second monitor pays for itself very quickly. It's also great for studying.


I have a few extra monitors lying around and I've tried multi-monitor setups a few times, but... I've never found any real use for them, they only serve as a distraction instead of being useful. I find it much easier to just alt-tab or resize windows so that I can fit multiple ones on the same screen so I don't have to move my mouse or eyes over such a long distance; I can just get a glance at all I'm doing with minimal eye-movement.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: my experience
by fran on Mon 29th Aug 2011 12:48 UTC in reply to "RE: my experience"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

it's for e commerce purposes.
I work in chrome. but the link to the products is in a spreadsheet i open in another browser.
When i then open the product page (firefox defaul browser setting) it will open on the right side next to chrome.
The setup is thus. Chrome..Firefox in the first and Excel on the second screen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: my experience
by andih on Mon 29th Aug 2011 20:06 UTC in reply to "my experience"
andih Member since:
2010-03-27

Ive got an 24 at work, no way I need anything more than that: Thanks to awesomewm.

Without awesome (tiling wm) I would probably need 2 or 3x24", but what the heck.. If you have a big screen already, try a tiling wm before buying an extra screen, you'll be amazed to see how much space is used on useless bars, crap and blank space, and how useful it is to have tiling + several "desktops". I love the way awesome works. Switching "desktops" and moving programs around is done with keyboard shortcuts and is probably faster than turning head to a second screen:p awesome <3

Two screens + traditional wm + a lot of open windows = sounds like a unproductive mess to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: my experience
by bert64 on Tue 30th Aug 2011 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE: my experience"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Couldn't agree more, a decent tiling WM plus multiple virtual desktops is actually much easier to deal with than 2 or more physical screens... I have 2 24" screens on my desktop and i hardly ever use it, i do 99% of my work on the laptop which has a singly 17" 1920x1200 screen.

I can see multiple screens being useful when you need to monitor lots of things but not necessarily interact with them very often, and as a second best substitute for someone who's stuck with a lousy window manager that doesn't do tiling or proper multiple desktop support.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: my experience
by zima on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: my experience"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

...or for someone who does different kinds of things than you, on a computer (believe it or not, such people exist; that could be possibly even most of the users). NLE for example, where two monitors are sort of a must for any level of comfort; the (good) software is almost intended for it.

Reply Score: 1

layout
by Adurbe on Mon 29th Aug 2011 12:36 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think to would be interesting to see how people layout their screens. I personally have my primary monitor facing me flat with the secondary on the right

Reply Score: 2

RE: layout
by fran on Mon 29th Aug 2011 12:56 UTC in reply to "layout"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

same here

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: layout
by AnythingButVista on Mon 29th Aug 2011 13:46 UTC in reply to "RE: layout"
AnythingButVista Member since:
2008-08-27

We are now three with the same setup.

Reply Score: 1

RE: layout
by ggeldenhuys on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:26 UTC in reply to "layout"
ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

I have two 19" LCD's centered in front of me. This allows me to glance over both screens without much head movement.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: layout
by Earl C Pottinger on Mon 29th Aug 2011 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE: layout"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

I use the same arrangement when developing code for Haiku-OS. You tend to have a number of windows open while writting C++ code.

But for some reason I *ALWAYS* have the main body of code displayed on the right hand screen, with the docs and extra windows on the left. Does this have anything to being right-handed? Do south-paws do the reverse?

PS. When not coding I tend to only use one screen for everything.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: layout
by ggeldenhuys on Tue 30th Aug 2011 07:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: layout"
ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

But for some reason I *ALWAYS* have the main body of code displayed on the right hand screen, with the docs and extra windows on the left. Does this have anything to being right-handed?

Nope, I'm right handed and do the reverse. Most of my code is on the left screen, and debug and console windows are on the right screen. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: layout
by zlynx on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:38 UTC in reply to "layout"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

At work I face the 24" LCD and put apps like email and IM on the laptop display off to the side.

At home I currently have only one 30" monitor, but before I sold off my older 24" I used both of them. Neither one was in the center, the 30" was to the left and the 24" to the right.

Reply Score: 2

RE: layout
by phoenix on Mon 29th Aug 2011 18:31 UTC in reply to "layout"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

3 monitors, 2 connected to a Linux box, 1 connected to a Windows box, setup with one directly in front of me, and the other two on the sides of that.

The leftmost monitor is "screen 0" in Linux.
The centre monitor is "screen 1" in Linux.
The rightmost monitor is Windows.

Synergy is installed on both systems, so it's seamless mouse movement across all three monitors. ;)

Once I get my second Linux box setup, there will be a fourth monitor installed, shifting things slightly so that the seam between monitors 2 and 3 will be centred in front of me.

Reply Score: 2

MultiMonitor / MultiOS setup
by etrek on Mon 29th Aug 2011 13:28 UTC
etrek
Member since:
2006-03-29

I have 3 24" monitors setup up horizontally.

2 Monitors are attached to one machine running xubuntu w/ati-amd + xinerama (different backgrounds yayy!).

1 Monitor running off my older MacbookPro with the mouse and keyboard "attached" to the linux box via "synergy". No moving windows but cut and paste works!

Nice to have code on one screen and output on the other + 3rd for misc stuff and testing.

Reply Score: 1

Question #5
by AnythingButVista on Mon 29th Aug 2011 13:42 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

I don't understand question #5. Is it about the physical monitor edges actually touching or is it about them having the same resolution so pixel continuity isn't broken?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Question #5
by Neolander on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:36 UTC in reply to "Question #5"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Question 5 is about vertical size match for an horizontal setup, or horizontal size match for a vertical setup. An extreme "no" would be if you have one huge screen next to one tiny screen (which would make continuous background mode ridiculous imo).

Edited 2011-08-29 14:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

My setup
by Wafflez on Mon 29th Aug 2011 13:50 UTC
Wafflez
Member since:
2011-06-26

Originally I was planning on getting three 22" (or so) 1080p monitors and stacking them vertically. But ultimately decided on going with one 30" (2560x1600) and one 22" (1080p resolution), as it's enough space for me plus watching movies is better than on one 22" monitor and rotating it back to horizontal.

Reply Score: 1

My setup
by AnythingButVista on Mon 29th Aug 2011 13:51 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

I have two HDTV monitors, both connected to a Radeon HD 5550 card and running in Windows 7. The Primary display is connected via HDMI and the secondary monitor is connected to the VGA port. They are not the same side (primary = 22-inch and secondary = 24-inch) but they both run at 1080p (1920x1080). The primary monitor also doubles as an over-the-air TV when I'm not using the computer. The secondary display came as a monitor when it's crappy TV tuner failed.

Edited 2011-08-29 13:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

virtual desktops
by bnolsen on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:08 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

There's a very serious difference between how most windows users handle their desktop compared with how X11 users do the same. Most windows users stick with one screen and do heavy management via the task bar. Traditional X11 users tend to open up multiple desktops, set up their applications (not as icons) and flip between the screens.

I've found using the X11 virtual desktop paradigm that having dual heads (each with independent sets of virtual desktops) doesn't really make me that much more productive.

Today I'll use multi heads as a necessity as a result of using mini laptops which by themselves don't have enough screen real estate.

Reply Score: 2

multi-monitors and virtual desktops
by ggeldenhuys on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:38 UTC
ggeldenhuys
Member since:
2006-11-13

I run Ubuntu 10.04.2. I have two 19" LCD monitors centered in front of me. I also have 4 virtual desktops setup, but I don't use the Xinerama feature. For those that don't know, Xinerama will display two desktops on two monitors (one on each monitor). I prefer 4 large virtual desktops, where one desktop spans two monitors.

I am a developer and find a multi-monitor setup very useful. Code on one screen, debug on another. I also use one virtual desktop of email and web browsing. Email on one screen, web browser on the other.

I also use VirtualBox a lot (also for development). So normally run one or two of those on another virtual desktop.

The forth virtual desktop is just a spare. I use that to quick open a console, or run some utility app etc - without the need to minimize my already running apps.

Linux's multi-monitor setup is not 100% perfect though. Some applications still open a popup window or dialog split over the two monitors. Or like in the case of Mozilla Thunderbird, the main form is on one monitor, and my account password prompt appears on the other.

But overall, it is MUCH better than one 19" LCD.

My next system is going to be a single monitor setup, but I'm going for a Dell 27" monitor with 2560x1440 resolution. This will give me almost the same "virtual resolution" I have now using two monitors. The important thing here is that I'll have more vertical space (important for programming). So hopefully one large resolution monitor will fix the Linux multi-monitor issues I mentioned, plus I will not have a 1" monitor bevel in the middle of my desktop, and I'll have more vertical space. :-)

Reply Score: 2

fran Member since:
2010-08-06

daardie Dell is XHD. Dit sal nogal n belewenis wees om dit te ervaar. Veral as games dit begin gebruik

http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/8/2/euclideon-promises-graphics-detail-...

Reply Score: 2

transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

I also considered a 27" 2560x1440 as a possible single panel setup but then I realized the pixel pitch would be the same as my loathsome secondary 23" 2048x1152 panel which is exactly 4/5ths of the 27" panel. Instead I settled on getting a 2nd 24" (both 1200 high) to match my 1st, the pixels are just that much cheaper and bigger.

Reply Score: 2

Virtual desktops!
by biffuz on Mon 29th Aug 2011 14:46 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

I find virtual desktops to be more productive than multiple displays. I can't work without since I discovered this function with BeOS ten years ago. I find very disturbing to have to move the head.
That said, I do have a backup 15" display on the side of my 23" at home, so I can read World of Warcraft's dungeon bosses strategy right when we fight them... 'cause to be invited in the party you always have to say "of course I know the strategy, I'm not a n00b!" ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Virtual desktops!
by Earl C Pottinger on Mon 29th Aug 2011 17:01 UTC in reply to "Virtual desktops!"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

Loved them on the Amiga when you could drag a screen down and watch the progress on both screens.

Since moving to BeOS/Haiku-OS I found I tend not to spread a single job/project across virtual screens, but found them very useful when you are doing two very diffirent jobs since each job can be kept on it's own desktop so you don't mix them up.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Virtual desktops!
by zima on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 23:52 UTC in reply to "Virtual desktops!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd hazard a guess that your immovable neck is much more disturbing to any people around... ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Mon 29th Aug 2011 15:00 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

I'm running an identical pair (almost sequential serial numbers) of 19" LCDs.

Given how primitive tiling support is in most WMs and how much work it is to make something like AwesomeWM or XMonad into a hybrid tiling-floating WM (I'm working on it), I would never replace them with a single monitor of the same size. (I let Xinerama boundaries act as a tiling hack for WMs like KWin/Metacity/Openbox)

In retrospect, I would go for 22" widescreen monitors so KDE's clone of Aero Snap can fully come into its own in this world of apps that expect a certain minimum width. (two widescreen monitors would allow me four portrait-oriented windows)

Gaming on dual-monitors is a bit of a trade-off though. I can either allow games to throw off my desktop stickies by changing the resolution (Not gonna happen, though I believe Wayland is supposed to bring a proper API for that use case eventually) or I can run them windowed to prevent them centering across the line between the two monitors.

I honestly prefer gaming in a 1280x960 window with WinDeco turned off. It's effectively maximized on one monitor, but lets me glance at whatever widgets and meters I put on the other without exiting the game. (If they're SDL-based, I can event Ctrl-G to release/restore the mouse grab)

Finally, $7-15 VESA mounting plates off eBay plus some scrap wood make an excellent poor-man's dual-monitor mount for freeing up desk space... especially if your desk is built from scrap wood and you can screw your monitor mount right into the superstructure of the desk.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ssokolow
by Earl C Pottinger on Mon 29th Aug 2011 17:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by ssokolow"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

If you are going as far as making a wooden mount for your monitors (I did the same), get a lazy-susan base from Home Depot at the same time so that you can rotate your monitor at will. Great for reading legal-size formatted PDFs.

Reply Score: 1

Typical setup...
by TemporalBeing on Mon 29th Aug 2011 19:14 UTC
TemporalBeing
Member since:
2007-08-22

...that I've noticed is a laptop + external monitor with the internal display still active and the two in a horizontal configuration. I've seen a number of managers with that setup.

But to answer their main question about OS expectations - the OS should be able to be configured for anything, but must be able to remember the configuration(s) the user wants - and easily switch between them - for instance, a laptop switching between multi-monitor (docked or undocked) and simply the internal monitor. If the OS (X11/KDE/GNOME/etc) don't make that switch seamless, then it's a problem.

For example, right now I'm running Kubuntu 11.04 on my laptop with KDE SC 4.6.3. It's got a bug that causes it to not remember my multi-monitor configuration even if I make that the default configuration. It's very annoying. (I've heard they fixed that for KDE SC 4.7; so I'm waiting for it to come through to see.)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by JThelen
by JThelen on Mon 29th Aug 2011 21:42 UTC
JThelen
Member since:
2011-02-02

9 years ago, I couldn't fathom using more than one monitor. About that time, I got a job coding, and dual screens was simply the default; I used one for the piece of cod that I was working on, and the other was a browser running our test engine. I could make changes on the one screen, save them into my test depository, compile and throw it against the test server. It wasn't a huge productivity boost, but I definitely felt it when I lost my second screen moving to a different project which was waiting on second monitors for the dev team. Current I've got a 2x2 stack of 24" screens hooked up to a machine running 3x thin client OS and a second 'fat' box. It sounds like a lot to deal with, but having gotten used to it, I don't know that I could watch that many systems with less.

About the same time I built a new PC and bought two shiny monitors for home use. Unless I'm gaming I really only use one at a time, but I tend to game in windowed, full screen modes so that I can simply mouse across the dual monitor desktop with no issues.

Reply Score: 1

2 for me
by transputer_guy on Mon 29th Aug 2011 22:17 UTC
transputer_guy
Member since:
2005-07-08

When I got my 1st Acer 24" 1920x1200 LCD 3 years ago I matched it with a cheap & nasty Samsung 23" with 2048x1152. The Samsung pixels were 15%, a real productivity killer just to save a miserable $100.

Just swapped the silly thing for a Lenova that has 1920x1200 pixels and has a few nice features like 4 degrees of freedom, includes up/down and even 90deg all for $260. It has saved my sanity since windows can now be sized for one and slid across as needed. It also gets LED power levels from a better CFL tube design and is half as thick as the Acer. It's an engineers monitor rather than a pretty shiny model.

I wonder with HP leaving the PC scene what happens to their line of 1920x1200 monitors as that was the other option. This Lenova is a mature model (over the hill) and I really fear the 1200 pixel models completely going away for the horrid 1080 16x9 aspect models, even though they are cheap.

I see a few Haiku people here so is 2 head now possible or are those on a Linux development machine?

Reply Score: 2