Sun, 07 May 2006
Dual seat X and the evdev driver
I use dual seat X11 config (two graphics cards, two mice, two keyboards) at home. I had problems with this setup in Fedora 5, because this distribution is based on X.org release 7.0. Today I have finally made this working.
Firstly some background: in pre-7.0 versions of X.org/XFree86, the X server
needed to be patched. The first part of the patch implemented the keyboard
driver for the Linux event interface (
in order to use the USB keyboard, and the second part removed the code which
disabled all the other VGA cards present in the system when starting the X
server, disabled VT locking/switching code, etc.
Now it seems the 7.0 release is much cleaner with respect to multi-seat
configs. The X server has options for interoperability with other X servers
running on the same host (
-sharevts -novtswitch -isolateDevice),
and there is a brand new
evdev driver, which implements
the event interface handler not only for keyboards, but also for mice.
There is a big problem, though: the evdev driver in FC5 is not compatible with XKB.
Because Pavlína is back home and she needs the second head working,
I have decided to try to solve this. I have installed the new
xorg-x11-drv-evdev package from Rawhide (together with the
rest of X packages). It mostly works, but I had to patch (fd.o bug #3912) the XKB files
for the new "evdev" keyboard model. My keyboard config in
xorg.conf is now the following:
Section "InputDevice" Identifier "USBKeyboard" Driver "evdev" Option "Protocol" "evdev" Option "Device" "/dev/input/event1" Option "XkbModel" "evdev" EndSection
The new driver does not support any other device name than
eventN, so I had to hardcode the device name to the config, instead of using the
udev-based rule for symlinking to the right device (in case the devices are plugged in or recognized in a different order).
I use the following command to set up the US+CZ keyboard:
setxkbmap -model evdev -keycodes evdev us,cz_qwerty -option grp_led:scroll,grp_mode:switch,grp:shift_toggle
So finally, the multi-seat config is working for me even in FC5. And it seems the X.org 7.0 took much cleaner path to this than the previous releases. It is still not without glitches, but I think the direction is correct. The most important part is, that the multi-seat config is now supported in the X.org release, without patching and recompiling the X server.