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Re: Using multiple monitors

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On Jan 22, 2011, at 7:57 AM, Christopher Berardi wrote:

I don't know if this is even possible, but -- could NetBSD be setup to either have a *console* session (using a program like window, screen, or tmux) spread
over two or more monitors?

Or, could it be setup to have a separate tty assigned to each monitor (e.g., tty1 on monitor 1, tty2 on monitor 2, etc.) and then convienent hotkeys be assigned to 1) switch between ttys (like it currently uses ctrl-alt- [1-9]) and
2) switch between active monitors (e.g., ctrl-alt-shift-[1-9])?

Sort of, but probably not on i386 thanks to firmware limitations.
First, the vga driver only supports one instance but there are other drivers that have no such limit. The problem is that most of these drivers depend on the firmware to initialise the graphics chip and run with whatever graphics mode they find. On sparc for example the firmware will setup all connected graphics devices and NetBSD will support tty output on whatever it has drivers for. On other architectures it's hit and miss - OpenFirmware may or may not setup additional devices, if it does we can usually use them. The /dev/ entries for wsdisplay0 would be ttyE*, for wsdisplay1 it's ttyF* and so on, all on the same major number, ttyE0 with minor 0, ttyF0 at 256 and so on. Some drivers support mode setting ( like machfb, radeonfb, voodoofb ) but at least machfb and radeonfb need to be cold started by firmware ( to program clocks and such which can not be probed so it must be done by the card's firmware ) - if that does not happen we can not use the card. OpenFirmware usually does this kind of minimal setup on all devices with compatible ROMs even if it doesn't setup a usable graphics mode, PC BIOSes probably don't. You'll have better luck trying to setup X to use additional graphics devices.

have fun

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