I read about the virtual terminals a little and that gave me an idea. I searched for a way to have two X sessions simultaneously.

I had a look at these sites :

1. How to run multiple user X sessions on the same computer, at the same time?
2. How to drag windows between 2 X servers?

I tried startx -- :1 but my earlier terminal (on Ctrl+Alt+F7) hung up. How do I ensure this does not happen?

My main need is to get Unity on :0 and Gnome-shell on :1 and switch between them like workspaces.

If possible, I'd like to get login screen on tty8 or get option of logging into a different account.

As per question 2, exchanging windows between sessions is not recommended as it is not easy. But if it is possible I'd like to know.

I have Ubuntu 12.04 64bit.

The above command made both sessions crashed (virtual one worked for 15 min then crashed when I switched to real).

Also, how to revert to one X session if system gets overloaded?

Update :

Tried code in answer 3 times but system never stabilizes. Either tty7 or tty8 works, but not simultaneously, for sometime before crashing.

2 Answers 2


Questions #1: How to run multiple X sessions at the same time

You need to run sudo startx gnome-session -- :1 vt8 - the vt8 tells X to start the session on TTY8 (which you get to with ctrlaltF8)

Question #2: Drag windows between X Sessions

I doubt that's possible, and if it is, with the software we have today it would be very unstable - it's the job of the DE to do everything from window management and toolbar rendering to workspace placement, and you can't just 'cut and paste' a window from one DE to another. In the future this could be possible, as it sounds like something the Wayland graphics server (hoped to be a replacement for X) could be better at managing. But for the moment at least, it's unlikely to work.

  • And what about 2nd query? How to do that? Will such a system be stable?
    – VedVals
    Nov 25, 2012 at 16:42
  • A second X session shouldn't cause any problems as when you switch TTYs the X server that's "in focus" should get controlled by your input devices (IE mouse and keyboard). This is the system I currently use to have the chromeOS desktop environment running alongside Unity.
    – jackweirdy
    Nov 25, 2012 at 17:34
  • No I meant how to exchange windows. Also the command I tried (one in question) might not be the one as now both terminals are hanged.
    – VedVals
    Nov 25, 2012 at 17:44
  • You should clarify in your question that exchanging windows is a requirement; you don't mention it anywhere
    – jackweirdy
    Nov 25, 2012 at 17:49
  • 1
    Tried the code 3 times. System just crashes.
    – VedVals
    Nov 30, 2012 at 18:33

I am using 2 different sessions on Ubuntu like this:

  • Create new user
  • CTRL+ALT+L (switch account)
  • Log into using that user

Ubuntu creates new X session in next tty when another user logins. So now you can switch between those sessions using CTRL+ALT+F7 and CTRL+ALT+F8.

I've never tried with Gnome3 but it works with XBMC session


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.