Multi-monitor goodness

Remember how I said I had dual monitors at my new job? Well, that's not quite true anymore.

That's right: I now have three, count 'em, THREE monitors. This was not by design, but actually came about because one of the other programmers left for a new job. His last day was Wednesday, so we divided up his stuff on Thursday morning. Edwin, our lead developer, moved over to his desk and took his PC and one monitor, while I took the other monitor and moved to Edwin's old desk. So I now have three monitors, a bigger desk, more light, and a more comfortable chair. What I don't have, as you can see from the picture, is real monitor stands. But I'm not complaining.

Setting up three monitors on Kubuntu was a little complicated. Fortunately, Edwin has some experience with tri-monitor setup, so he helped me through it.

The first hurdle was the BIOS. I'm using a dual-port nVidia card for two of them and the integrated Intel card on my motherboard for the third. By default, the BIOS disables the onboard video when it detects an external card, so I had to set the onboard video to always be active. I also had to set the onboard card to be the primary video device. Failing to do that actually caused a kernel panic on boot.

Once both cards were detected, it was just a matter of X configuration. I was able to set up the two monitors on the nVidia card using the nvidia-settings utility. That let me set the relative position and resolution of those two screens and enable Xinerama.

The integrated card had to be added by hand. The final configuration wasn't too hard, though. I added another "Monitor" section (which was actually identical to the other two), another "Device" section using the "vesa" driver and had the integrated card's bus ID, and another "Screen" section for them with the appropriate resolution. After that, I just added this line to the "ServerLayout" section.
Screen 2 "Screen2" LeftOf "Screen0"
The last step was to restart the X server and watch all three screens come to life.

There's only one problem with this: now I'm going to want three monitors at home, but I don't have $500 to drop on that project. Maybe if I can get some used....

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