[STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

[STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby zcsteele » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:17 am

Hi all,

I'm using Zorin OS 8 Lite on an old netbook (Eee PC). I'm using the netbook with an external monitor to test a PC+projector setup for my church. LXDE seems to respond poorly to multi-monitor setups out-of-the-box, and I've run into a few issues in the process. Fortunately, I've been able to find workarounds for everything, but since it took me a bit of time to get things straightened out I figured I should document the issues in case anybody else is trying to use a similar setup.

First off, LXDE tries to mirror the desktop across monitors by default. I changed the layout by installing ARandR and dragging the displays to the intended arrangement. That fixed the mirroring effect, but since the external monitor has a larger resolution than the netbook screen lxpanel was then along the bottom of the virtual desktop, below the bottom of the netbook's screen. I repositioned the netbook screen along the bottom of the virtual desktop in ARandR so the panel would be visible. I then changed the panel's width from 100% to the exact width of the netbook screen (1024 pixels) so the panel would no longer stretch along the external display.

I found online documentation for multiple ways to configure LXDE to use the custom xrandr script from ARandR during login, none of which actually worked. My solution was as follows:
  • Menu > Preferences > Default Applications for LXSession
  • Click on the "Autostart" tab
  • Under the header "Manual autostarted applications", paste the XRandR command from the ARandR script into the text input field
  • Click "+ Add"
  • Close the window, log out, log back in

After all that, I am now able to use both monitors as intended. A little bit tedious, but perfectly functional.

My second issue was the wallpaper. PCmanFM butchers multi-monitor wallpapers pretty bad; it looks like it tries to use the dimensions of the largest monitor to stretch the image and then positions one copy at the offset coordinates for each monitor, plus an extra copy positioned at +0 +0 on the virtual desktop. I suppose the results would look decent if both monitors had the exact same dimensions.

My workaround was to install & run Nitrogen. Nitrogen lost my configuration after my first test run, so run it as "nitrogen --save" to keep the setup permanently. On the first run with Nitrogen click "Preferences" and add directory "/usr/share/lubuntu/wallpapers", the location where the default background is stored. My aim was to display the image full-size on both monitors, so I used the "Scaled" wallpaper option. From there I selected each monitor ("Screen 1", "Screen 2") from the display dropdown and click "Apply" after selecting each. To disable PCmanFM's wallpaper run "pcmanfm --desktop-off"

To restore the wallpaper settings during login, I added two additional autostart commands using "Default Applications for LXSession":
  • "pcmanfm --desktop-off"
  • "nitrogen --restore"

I've got a couple of remaining questions at this point:
  • Are the any better ways to generate the same configuration? Any options/utilities that would make the process a little simpler, or more flexible?
  • I noticed the LXpanel clock plugin is close enough to the border between the primary & secondary monitors that the calendar popup is mostly on the second monitor. Is it possible to modify the configuration so the calendar appears entirely on the primary monitor?
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Re: [STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby Swarfendor437 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:05 pm

Hi, great tutorial, and welcome to Zorin! :D

Have made this a [STICKY] for the benefit of other users!

(Wolfman, might be worth including in your post-install guide! :D )
https://vimeo.com/user15592214
https://trisquel.info/
https://www.opendesktop.org/member/257685/

Machine: ASUS X470-PRO, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core, 16 Gb RAM, ZOTAC Geforce GT1030 (2 Gb)
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Re: [STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby Wolfman » Fri May 02, 2014 6:51 am

Hi,

to be quite honest; I cannot see any reason why your desktop wallpapers were not loading/doing what they are supposed to unless you have something exotic loading with them, maybe a screensaver set or something?.

Simply pointing the dektop tool to any wallpaper stored anywhere in your home should be enough?. Are you trying to use different wallpapers on the monitors?.

Did you check out the Zorin Lite guide and the links for LXDE/Lubuntu etc?:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4835

On your netbook; there should be an "FN" key with which you can switch the various display modes of your monitors, show mon 1, show mon2, switch off mon 1 and show on, you need to find out which key corresponds to the FN function key, mine is FN + F5 & F5 on my laptop!.

See also:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubun ... or_Screens
Regards Wolfman :D

Kindness is something the blind can see and the deaf can hear :)

Preparation and planning prevent poor performance! :)

Free Ubuntu User Manual: https://ubuntu-manual.org/
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Re: [STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby zcsteele » Mon May 12, 2014 1:48 am

I haven't configured any screensaver software on the system; I tried to document all the changes I made to the default install in my initial post. I will wipe & reinstall the OS to see if the desktop behaves any differently on the second pass (in case I missed anything noteworthy during the second pass); I'll let you know what happens.

Since I am using the netbook as a guinea pig for testing the mulit-monitor setup with a desktop computer, I need to be able to implement the two-monitor setup without using the laptop's internal/external display shortcut buttons. It actually worked pretty good; XRandR detects the external monitor without need any help.

I looked over the links you posted, but didn't see anything related to the exact display issues I ran into. Hopefully the shortage of documentation means most people aren't having similar issues.
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Re: [STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby Wolfman » Tue May 13, 2014 2:48 pm

Hi,

when you do th initial new install, don't connect the 2nd monitor, install and update and then setup the 2nd monitor after installing "xrand"!. :D
Regards Wolfman :D

Kindness is something the blind can see and the deaf can hear :)

Preparation and planning prevent poor performance! :)

Free Ubuntu User Manual: https://ubuntu-manual.org/
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Re: [STICKY] Multi-monitor config with Zorin OS 8 Lite

Postby Swarfendor437 » Wed May 14, 2014 1:12 pm

Just been mooching around what is on AVLinux 6 - it has 'XRandR' present by default - perhaps Zorin could include this in future releases? :D
https://vimeo.com/user15592214
https://trisquel.info/
https://www.opendesktop.org/member/257685/

Machine: ASUS X470-PRO, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8 Core, 16 Gb RAM, ZOTAC Geforce GT1030 (2 Gb)
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