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Is there a way to split a single monitor in two, so that the two halves will be treated as separate monitors? This means that windows should fill half the screen when maximized. Also, gnome panels should fill half the screen.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

It seems compiz has support for this. Under "General Options" in CompizConfig, on the "Display Settings" tab, it is possible to manually specify the "monitors" to use for maximizing windows. There is an issue with Adobe Flash and fullscreen, but overall it works quite well.

Since my graphics card merges three monitors into a single large one, this is very useful.

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For flash and fullscreen see… – Alistair Buxton Jul 20 '12 at 19:09

This is fundamentally impossible in X11 architecture unless you rewrite the video drivers. I know this from bitter experience.

The only way you could do is by running multiple windowed virtual desktops (ie vnc or xnest/xephyr) in borderless windows. You'll then lose all graphics acceleration.

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You might try using a tiling window manager.

KDE supports limited tiling out of the box. It will allow you to split you screen into two halves, though.

On the other end of the spectrum are Xmonad and Awesome. These are more difficult to set up, but some people swear by them. I used Xmonad for a long time and you get very adept at keyboard navigation. Reducing mouse usage, is the reason most people switch in the first place. I now use KDE because a few programs I use regularly don't tile very well and were a pain to use in Xmonad.

A happy medium might be to replace Gnome's window manager with Xmonad if you are a Gnome user.

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