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In advance of being in a position to properly calibrate my dual monitor set-up under Ubuntu, I really need to move from using Nvidia's Twinview to something else as Twinview is seen as one single large Monitor. From a colour calibration point of view this is not too useful as each monitor needs to be calibrated separately.

Does anyone have any good tips, experience or recommendations as to the best way to go about setting up dual monitors that will allow me to calibrate both my monitors independently using Xinerama or another solution?

The gfx card I have is an Nvidia FX580 if that helps.

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What is the problem of "one large Monitor"? I never had any problems with Twinview. AN alternative is Xinerama, which handles the monitors as one big screen as well. What do you mean by "calibrate"? Seperate X screens would work as well but then you cannot move applications from one screen to the other one!!! –  Michael K Nov 14 '11 at 11:50
    
It could be on colour calibration... –  lgarzo Nov 14 '11 at 12:35
    
The problem with the one large monitor it's it makes calibration of each monitor independently impossible. See argyllcms.com/doc/Installing_Linux.html –  muffinresearch Nov 14 '11 at 12:54
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3 Answers 3

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You can have separately calibrated monitors, but only using Xinerama. Unfortunately, NVidia and Xinerama somehow seem to mess-up with the RandR X extension and you loose the ability to activate desktop effects. It is unfortunate for me, because I do benefit from some subtle effects, like window shadows and a few animations here and there. Note that this will most probably break Unity, which uses Compiz!

To activate Xinerama, you only need to use the NVidia X Server Settings program that comes bundled with the NVidia driver. On openSUSE that I use, it's called nvidia-settings. If you don't have it already installed, I guess it will be a quick search and install from the repositories.

Come to think of it, to have enabled TwinView, you must have used the NVidia program, so you must have it anyway!

In the NVidia program, go to "X Server Display Configuration" and check "Enable Xinerama", then make sure the monitors are placed appropriately and select each one and for Configuration select "Separate X screen". Then click on "Save to X Configuration File" and give it a filename.

Next, you need to make X use this configuration file each time it starts. On openSUSE I have created a symbolic link called xorg.conf in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ pointing to the configuration file in my home directory. You can just copy the file to that location, but you must name it xorg.conf. If in Ubuntu the location is different, you will want to research a bit.

Next thing, you logout, which should restart the X Server with the new configuration. Log back in, you should have your dual-monitor setup working, sans desktop effects...

Next thing in the list is monitor calibration and profiling. I have a Spyder2 device and used Argyll CMS to do this. If you don't know it, Argyll is a great package that can accurately calibrate your monitors and produce very high quality profiles. The bad thing is, it does have a rather steep learning curve. There is a utility GUI that does ease things up a bit, called dispcalGUI, check it out.

I've done this whole saga and do have a properly calibrated / profiled dual-head setup which does look nice, albeit without desktop effects. I use Gnome 2, so I don't have a real problem using my system, your mileage may vary if you use one of the newer environments.

In case you end up with an unusable setup, just reboot into single-user mode (append "single" - no quotes - to the kernel command line in the initial boot loader menu) and remove the above symbolic link (or rename the file to something other than xorg.conf), then reboot again. You should be fine.

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I found that several users have the problem with the nVidia graphic card. While Googling and looking into the archive, several ubuntu-masters reported that they are happy using the disper and the disper indicator.... works well in Natty + Unity

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:disper-dev/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nmellegard/disper-indicator-ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install disper disper-indicator

You should be able to get this indicator :

Disper Indicator

The usage instruction is simple (I think). Go into the terminal, type disper -e and you should have both of the monitor running well with extended view (which means that you can move the cursor of the mouse on the edge, and it will popped out on the other screen).

I also found one more guide, obviously from this AkUbuntu Stack Exchange portal too and it is good for you to see it...

How to automatically switch monitors with my laptop dock

It is a pretty long reading to the whole post. I also use the extended view mode, connect my netbook the the LCD monitor but I have no problem since I'm not using the nVidia. Just plug and play~

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Unless I'm mistaken this looks to be just something that switches displays rather than providing an alternative to twinview. –  muffinresearch Nov 14 '11 at 15:49
    
if that so, I'm sorry for answering the question with wrong solution for the problem above.... –  Aizan Fahri Nov 14 '11 at 16:04
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The best alternative to TwinView to calibrate both monitors is using the open source Nouveau driver. ( go to the additional driver, and remove the nvidia driver installed, Nouveau will replace automatically after a restart ). Nouveau is compatible with a newer Xrandr. This compatibility will allow you to calibrate and set color management for both screens. With Nouveau, the graphic frontend as colord ( gnome color manager ) or DispCalGUI works also perfectly.

Warning : the Nouveau driver is weaker about performances. Another workaround if Nvidia driver ( performances ) is a 'must have' ( I think for 3D Blender artist, or gamers ) is to set a screen for being the 'master' working one ( with nvidia driver and twinview the profile apply to both screens ) and tweak the color manually with the physical button on the second 'slave' screen to match the best. ( the second screen will be not used for precision color work , of course ). I use this solution as I need 3D/openGL performances.

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