Arman's stuff
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Single-card Multiseat?

(Wed Nov 24 17:14:54 2010)

That's... that's UNPOSSIBLE!

It's not often that I find something that is impossible to do in Linux. I mean, a default, no-tweaks Wine install will have StarCraft:BroodWars installed and running perfectly with nothing more than a double click - even the colors are perfect, something Windows 7 has a lot of trouble with. Every movie I've ever tried to play (barring one very damaged file) has played in mPlayer, but Windows needs a stack of codecs a mile high (some with questionable legality). Even old hardware will work just fine in Linux, while it chokes and coughs in Windows.

Even so, I believe I've found one of the impossible tasks - multiseat with a single video card and no extra packages (multiseat is putting two or more keyboard/mouse/monitor sets on one computer, so multiple people can use it at once).

KUbuntu can do multiseat fine (Ubuntu can't - a bug in GDM, the Gnome desktop manager), as far as I know - assuming you use multiple video cards. It takes a little tweaking, but it should work. However, since I don't have a big ol' pile of accelerated video cards laying around, I'm (currently) stuck with a single dual-head card. This doesn't work out well, because it means the "seats" will be sharing the graphics processor. Ok for browsing the Internet, not so good for playing games or watching TV. I've tried for several (sleepless) days and nights, but I've not gotten beyond some errors and a kernel dump. The hardware just isn't there...

I really want to get this working. Buying a new computer (computer, monitor, keyboard/mouse and all) would set me back about $600; it would be a really nice computer, but it would only seat one. If I used standard multiseat - one video card per seat - it would only cost $150 to set up another seat. Four seats would be about $1050 - assuming I went for top-of-the-line stuff.

If I dug around and looked under a few rocks, I could probably get a halfway decent system going for less than $250; if I could beg/borrow/steal the monitors, I could add a seat for $25. Obviously, the computer wouldn't be able to play Crysis at every station, but it should do StarCraft or Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory just fine - and that's what I'd like to do, anyway. The number of seats would only be limited by the number of PCI slots available, especially if I got USB audio - only $11 each!

I'm sure I'll figure it out... I just wish I could figure it out a bit faster! :-)

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This blag is tagged: Computer, Games, Hardware, Kubuntu, Linux, Multiseat, All