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Virtual Xinerama

Have you ever wished you could test out ridiculously complex xinerama configurations, but didn’t have the hardware? Well, now you can.

Admittedly, that question isn’t going to be answered in the affirmative by many people, but I bet there are quite a few VMware users who wished that their VMs could run fullscreen and reflect their physical monitor configurations – and you can do that too.

I’ve just checked in support for virtual xinerama in the vmware video driver in Xorg and it will go out with the upcoming 7.2 release. Without additional integration into the actual VMware products (watch this space), you won’t get any automatic reflection of host configuration, but you can still manually configure a topology with a sample tool that I’ve included with the driver source. I’m also procrastinating about implementing support for defining a static configuration in xorg.conf.

You can get the new driver and the sample client from xorg git.

Also, most people probably know that keithp’s all-singing, all-dancing, xrandr++ is just round the corner, so don’t worry, I’ll be adding the driver hooks for that in the near future, which will let me deprecate our custom VMWARE_CTRL extension – but in the meantime, Xinerama support is useful and will continue to remain so (especially considering we want to be able to build a useful driver for older releases of Xorg).

One caveat is that there’s a limitation in existing VMware releases which will cause a crash if your frambuffer grows larger than 16MB. That’s a very large screen, but if you’re messing with xinerama, you’ll be more likely to hit it. As such, xinerama support defaults to off when run on this virtual hardware. You can turn it on from xorg.conf, but keep that limitation in mind.

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