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Old 01-06-2010, 07:58 AM
Dotan Cohen
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
keyboards.

Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard? The goal is to
save space, electricity, and maintenance in a cramped desk in which
now two people must each have their own computer (home environment). I
prefer to stick with Lenny but am willing to experiment with Squeeze
or even a Debian derivative if need be. Thanks in advance.

--
Dotan Cohen

http://what-is-what.com
http://gibberish.co.il


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Old 01-06-2010, 12:01 PM
Nick Douma
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

Dotan Cohen wrote:
> I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
> discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
> keyboards.
>
> Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
> with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard? The goal is to
> save space, electricity, and maintenance in a cramped desk in which
> now two people must each have their own computer (home environment). I
> prefer to stick with Lenny but am willing to experiment with Squeeze
> or even a Debian derivative if need be. Thanks in advance.
>

I've read an article years ago where they did what you trying to do,
with eight workplaces. I found an entry on Wikipedia that might be a
good starting point, it also contains a link to the X.org wiki page on
the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiseat_configuration
 
Old 01-06-2010, 01:13 PM
Dotan Cohen
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

2010/1/6 Boyd Stephen Smith Jr. <bss@iguanasuicide.net>:
> On Wednesday 06 January 2010 02:58:48 Dotan Cohen wrote:
>> I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
>> discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
>> keyboards.
>>
>> Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
>> with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard?
>
> From what I understand about Linux in general, no. *At the very least, doing
> so your be overly complicated.
>
> The first problem to solve is getting two separate X sessions to run at the
> same time, but using separate hardware. *It should be possible, but I've never
> tried it. *You'd have to write two fairly complex xorg.conf files to make sure
> the inputs and outputs are explicit and that X completely ignores the other
> hardware -- neither session can (e.g.) try to "turn off" the unused
> inputs/outputs. *Then you'd want to start them on the same "virtual terminal",
> something which will only work if your xorg.conf files are correct AND Xorg
> and the kernel don't actively try and prevent this.
>
> If you can get that working, you should be able to run a login manager on each
> session. *Then two different (or the same) user could login to each session.
> I guess the login manager is actually responsible to starting the X session,
> but once you could get two sessions running at the same time on the same vt,
> it should be relatively easy to start two login managers -- one for set of
> hardware / xorg.conf.
>
> If you even got that far, you'd still have some interference issues. *Things
> like Ctrl+Alt+Fx or Alt+SysRq+x would still affect all of the hardware by
> switching to another virtual terminal. *Modern login managers probably even
> have some facility for using and switching to other virtual terminals, which
> would switch both sets of hardware. *I'd wager that all of these could be
> disabled, for either all keyboards or all but one, but I don't know how off
> the top of my head.
>
> I think it would be easier simply scale the second computer down to a "thin
> client". *It would need it's own CPU, RAM, and I/O but it should be able to
> mount most file-systems via ro-nfs with a few filesystems mounted with rw-nfs
> (or nbd/iscsi/eata) after netbooting. *It would run its own Xorg instance, but
> use XDMCP to (graphically) login to the primary computer, such that all the X
> programs would run on the primary computer, and all the user settings/data
> would be on the primary computer -- users wouldn't even need a login to the
> thin client.
>
> Without hard disks, and needing only enough CPU power to run X, the second
> system could be *very* small. *Since it could share (at least) /usr with the
> main system, it wouldn't need to be separately updated much.
>
> This post turned out a lot longer and a lot less informative than I had hoped.
>
> TLDR: No; look into something like LTSP, but small-scale.


Thanks, Boyd, that was actually ver informative. As there is no room
for a second tower, I will see about modding the existing tower for
two motherboards. There actually is room, only the CPU cooling tubes
might be problematic.

Oh, and I'm going to have to see if a single 500W power supply with
another pigtail soldered will power both! That should probably be the
weak point in the system!



--
Dotan Cohen

http://what-is-what.com
http://gibberish.co.il


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Old 01-06-2010, 01:15 PM
randall
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

On 01/06/2010 09:58 AM, Dotan Cohen wrote:

I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
keyboards.

Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard? The goal is to
save space, electricity, and maintenance in a cramped desk in which
now two people must each have their own computer (home environment). I
prefer to stick with Lenny but am willing to experiment with Squeeze
or even a Debian derivative if need be. Thanks in advance.



seems pretty straight forward

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MultiseatX


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Old 01-06-2010, 01:18 PM
Dotan Cohen
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

2010/1/6 Nick Douma <n.douma@nekoconeko.nl>:
> Dotan Cohen wrote:
>> I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
>> discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
>> keyboards.
>>
>> Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
>> with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard? The goal is to
>> save space, electricity, and maintenance in a cramped desk in which
>> now two people must each have their own computer (home environment). I
>> prefer to stick with Lenny but am willing to experiment with Squeeze
>> or even a Debian derivative if need be. Thanks in advance.
>>
>
> I've read an article years ago where they did what you trying to do,
> with eight workplaces. I found an entry on Wikipedia that might be a
> good starting point, it also contains a link to the X.org wiki page on
> the subject:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiseat_configuration
>
>

Thanks! From that article, it appears that multiseat is a planned
feature for Fedora 12. Not exactly a Debian derivative, bus close
enough for me!

--
Dotan Cohen

http://what-is-what.com
http://gibberish.co.il


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Old 01-06-2010, 01:34 PM
Chris Jackson
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

Dotan Cohen wrote:


2010/1/6 Boyd Stephen Smith Jr. <bss@iguanasuicide.net>:

From what I understand about Linux in general, no. At the very least, doing
so your be overly complicated.



...


Thanks, Boyd, that was actually ver informative. As there is no room
for a second tower, I will see about modding the existing tower for
two motherboards. There actually is room, only the CPU cooling tubes
might be problematic.

Oh, and I'm going to have to see if a single 500W power supply with
another pigtail soldered will power both! That should probably be the
weak point in the system!


I actually think this just might be possible, although I'm by no means
sure. I've got as far as running an X session on a separate video card
in the past, for display purposes only (that is, we ran for example
`DISPLAY=0:1 mplayer' to use the alternate display). I experimented
briefly with trying to get an actual xdm session on there, and while I
could get it to start, the problem was in picking up which device which
keyboard/mouse was attached to.


I'm curious about whether this is possible with udev, since that was in
the days before it - I think it may - possibly - be, and might have some
time to experiment this weekend if you're still interested.


--
Chris Jackson
Shadowat Systems Ltd.


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Old 01-06-2010, 02:11 PM
Javier Barroso
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

Hi,
On Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 2:01 PM, Nick Douma <n.douma@nekoconeko.nl> wrote:
> Dotan Cohen wrote:
>> I have a desktop computer with onboard VGA and option to add a
>> discrete video card. It has plenty of spare USB ports for mice and
>> keyboards.
>>
>> Does Debian support using this computer for _two_ workstations, each
>> with their own user accounts, monitor, and keyboard? The goal is to
>> save space, electricity, and maintenance in a cramped desk in which
>> now two people must each have their own computer (home environment). I
>> prefer to stick with Lenny but am willing to experiment with Squeeze
>> or even a Debian derivative if need be. Thanks in advance.
>>
>
> I've read an article years ago where they did what you trying to do,
> with eight workplaces. I found an entry on Wikipedia that might be a
> good starting point, it also contains a link to the X.org wiki page on
> the subject:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiseat_configuration
Another link which could be improved if you find any issue :
http://wiki.debian.org/Multi_Seat_Debian_HOWTO

Regards,


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Old 01-06-2010, 02:35 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

Dotan Cohen put forth on 1/6/2010 8:13 AM:

> Oh, and I'm going to have to see if a single 500W power supply with
> another pigtail soldered will power both! That should probably be the
> weak point in the system!

Just get one of these and install Debian via USB thumb drive netinst:

http://fit-pc2.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

It's only 4" x 4.5" x 1.05" I just measured and it's smaller than my hand.

--
Stan


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Old 01-06-2010, 02:38 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

Chris Jackson put forth on 1/6/2010 8:34 AM:

> I'm curious about whether this is possible with udev, since that was in
> the days before it - I think it may - possibly - be, and might have some
> time to experiment this weekend if you're still interested.

Now all you have to do is hack sound for two sessions. Of course, he'll need
two sound cards or a USB sound card and a second set of speakers.

--
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:59 PM
Dotan Cohen
 
Default Two computers in one: two users each with their own accounts, monitor, and keyboard?

> seems pretty straight forward
>
> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MultiseatX
>

Thanks, there is some great info there. And as Ubuntu is a Debian
derive, this looks quite what I need.

Thank you!

--
Dotan Cohen

http://what-is-what.com
http://gibberish.co.il


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