Hybrid [tallscreen/ widescreen] combination in a dual monitor setting [Ubuntu 10.10]

For those of you who would like to add the tallscreen feature to their setting; i.e. to be able to have one screen in the landscape configuration and the other one in the portrait configuration [for looking at a lot of code at the same time or browsing a Website where you’d like to see more content at once], here’s a roadmap that I got working on my workstation (tested on Ubuntu 10.10, 64bits, on an 8GB RAM Core i5 machine with an nVidia 9500 GT dual-DVI-output card]. This is assuming, of course, that you have two widescreen screens.

Widescreen One

Widescreen One

Tallscreen One

Tallscreen One

[1] First, make sure that both of your screens are in the landscape [normal] orientation
[2] Go to System > Administration > Nvidia X Server Settings
[3] Click on X Server Display Configuration
[4] Select both screens in turn, and make sure the configuration is set as Separate X Screen [not Twinview or Disabled], and then save the settings [it will ask for your password]
[5] Go to /etc/X11
[6] Make a backup of your xorg.conf by saying sudo cp xorg.conf xorg.conf.old, for the case you want to revert back to it
[7] Edit the xorg.conf and add the line [courtesy: this location]

Option       “RandRRotation” “True”

to the section ‘Screen’. Sample:

Section “Screen”
Identifier   “Screen0”
Device       “Device0”
Monitor      “Monitor0”
DefaultDepth 24
Option       “TwinView” “0”
Option       “metamodes” “CRT: nvidia-auto-select +0+0”
Option       “RandRRotation” “True”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 24
EndSubSection
EndSection

[8] For [7] you will need to figure out for yourself which one is Screen 0 and which one is Screen 1. You might want to add the line RandRRotation… to both of them, just in case you want to rotate both your screens later.
[9] Restart your machine
[10] Now you will have two separate X windows on your two separate monitors… you will not be able to drag stuff from one of them to the other. But you will be able to move your mouse to either one of them. Now you can set the two screens differently, with different wallpapers, different dockbars, window navigators etc.
[11] Go to the screen you are interested in rotating
[12] Open the terminal
[13] Type ‘xrandr -o left
[14] Now the display will be tilted and NOW you can swivel your screen to tallscreen

If you ever log out and log back in and it doesn’t work, or if you restart, then you will just have to tilt the swiveled screen back to landscape, and then follow the steps 11, 12, 13, 14. For some reason if you keep the screen swiveled beforehand and then try to use the xrandr command, the display gets messed up. I don’t know why. It might not be the case for a 32-bit system, or for another flavor/ version of Linux, or another graphics card, etc.

But this is a working solution.

Happy coding!

Widescreen Two

Widescreen Two

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