issues with dual monitors/second monitor/external monitor and "hot plugging" of monitors

Jeff.Hodges at Jeff.Hodges at
Wed Apr 4 09:18:44 PDT 2007

Some more in-progress info in my quest to figger out how to get "hot plugging" 
of "dual monitors/second monitor/external monitor" to work.

[dell d820, nvidia quadro nvs 120m, ubuntu 6.10]
Subject: Re: external monitor laptop - "hot plugging"
To: "Ubuntu user technical support,
	not for general discussions" <ubuntu-users at>
In-reply-to: ashley maher <ashley.maher at> 's message of 
	Wed, 28 Mar 2007 12:01:39 +1000
From: Jeff.Hodges at
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 20:59:53 -0700

ashley.maher at said:
> I've been trying to get an HP nw8240 laptop using dapper to work using an
> external monitor. 

I've been messing around with this sort of thing of late, and have determined 
that a key aspect of finding help for the issue is terminology (if you search 
the archives for this list I've sent a few msgs here along the way, they 
likely aren't much help cuz they were mostly questions).

What windoze laptop users are used to being able to do is plug in a 
{external,second} {monitor,screen} into a running laptop, and then put the 
desktop up onto said external monitor, which is often just a hot-key operation 
from the keyboard, and/or a simple menu click on the desktop.

In the X-based linux world, this is termed "hot plugging" of a display I've 
come to figure out (finally). It is apparently not commonly supported 

There are apparently workarounds, e.g. shutting down X (without logging off -- 
there's various ways to do this, which lands one in a bare terminal 
environment), plugging in the external monitor, and then restarting X. If 
one's /etc/X11/xorg.conf file is properly config'd wrt the external monitor 
(and the laptop's lcd display, of course), this is more or less likely to work.

nVidia folk have indicated that their X extension "twinview" will support what 
I want to do (which is explicitly "hot plugging") -- but it doesn't AFACT. It 
does support "cloning" of two screens simultaneously, but one has to futz 
around to turn it on and off, and it's less than convenient, and so doesn't do 
"hot plugging" IMHO.

So there's a web page out there I found using google today that i haven't had 
time to read yet that claims to recount and approach for hot plugging, i don't 
know (yet) if it works or not (hope it does)...

Seamless Monitor Hotplugging with X Windows

And there's this talk at a recent conference that ostensibly hits the nail on 
the head (I havent had a chance to watch it yet)..

X Monitor Hotplugging Sweetness

..but I think what he's saying therein is that what we wanna do is still a 
work-in-progress in the community.




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