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Old 02-12-2005, 02:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Powerbook external display - no mirror, no extend, X11 extermal only?

I just got a new 12" Powerbook. When I'm out, I use the built in LCD (obviously), but when I'm at home, I like to plug it into a 19" Dell flat panel (1280x1024) and turn the backlight off on the Powerbook.

Initially, I turned off mirroring, dragged the menu bar to the external display, and arranged the displays in the OS such that the internal LCD was to the left of the external, and then just pretended like it wasn't there.

All was well until I tried to run an X11 app and found it didn't appear. A little investigation showed that the X server was placing applications on the leftmost display, which is the one I'm trying not to use.

A solution that comes immediately to mind is placing the internal display to the *right* of the external, which almost works, except I am also using synergy2 to share my desktop keyboard and mouse between the Powerbook and my Linux desktop, and its display is (physically) to the right of the Mac display, so if I set the Powerbook to have its interal display (in software) to the right of the external, I end up having to traverse the entire unseen and unused desktop with my mouse after leaving the Linux desktop and before it appears on the Mac desktop. Not a showstopper, but somewhat annoying.

There are three possible real solutions I see here:

- Swap my Linux and Mac displays (physically) such that the Mac display is to the right, and then arrange the displays in OS X such that the internal LCD is to the right of the external. Then X11 will decide to open new applications on the extnernal LCD when it's connected. I'd rather not do this because the Linux machine is still my primary computer (give me time--I'm a new convert) and my desk arrangement makes it much more convenient for my primary system to be on the right.

- Convince the Powerbook to disable the built in display entirely when I plug in the external. Mirroring is not an option, because it forces the external display to run at 1024x768. Extending creates the aforementioned problem. I don't see any way to use the external display exclusively. Am I missing something?

- Convince Apple's X11 to use the external display as default when starting new applications. This looks like it may be difficult, because the X server doesn't seem to know the difference between the two. It's apparently just extending the X geometry to cover both displays. Is there any configuration option I'm unaware of that can control this? On Linux, I'd just use Xinerama and set up displays :0.0 and :0.1, but Apple's X11 doesn't appear to work this way.

Thanks for any tips you can offer me!

Radak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2005, 03:56 PM   #2
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I moved this thread to the X11 forums.
hayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2005, 04:00 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I have inadvertently solved my own problem while playing with something else...

The Powerbooks are designed to be able to run with the lid closed, but only if an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse are attached. Since I'm sharing my keyboard and mouse (and they're plugged into the Linux machine), the Powerbook was unwilling to run with the lid shut.

I played around with the Sleepless application, but was unable to get it to work (perhaps it doesn't work with 10.3.8 yet?), but discovered from another hint that if I press my Powerbook's power button and then immediately close the lid, it will wake up and stay awake regardless of attached peripherals.

The reason any of this is relevant to this thread is doing this disables the internal screen and everything is moved to the external screen, including all my X11 windows. Problem solved.

I'm still curious if anyone knows a trick to convince the X11 server to use only one of the active displays, but I am happy with the current solution.

Radak is offline   Reply With Quote

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