Dual display configuration in Lubuntu

Scenario: I connect my Thinkpad X201 running Lubuntu and LXDE (resolution: 1280x800) to an external display (resolution: 1920x1200) to create: 1) a combined desktop; 2) with lxpanel top aligned and stretched across both displays; 3) and a different wallpaper on each display.

Let's go!

0. Xrandr

Output information about connected display devices and supported resolutions using Xrandr:

$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 3200 x 1200, maximum 32767 x 32767
LVDS1 connected 1280x800+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 261mm x 163mm
    1280x800       60.0*+   50.1
    1024x768       60.0
    800x600        60.3     56.2
    640x480        59.9
VGA1 connected primary 1920x1200+1280+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 593mm x 371mm
    1920x1200      60.0*+
    1680x1050      60.0
    1400x1050      60.0
    1280x1024      75.0     60.0
    1440x900       59.9
    1280x960       60.0
    1152x864       75.0
    1024x768       75.1     70.1     60.0
    832x624        74.6
    800x600        72.2     75.0     60.3     56.2
    640x480        75.0     72.8     66.7     60.0
    720x400        70.1
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
VIRTUAL1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

1. dualDisplay

Create a dualDisplay shell script to generate a combined desktop (with external monitor set as primary display and positioned to the right of laptop display):

first_dsply=$(xrandr | grep " connected" | awk 'FNR == 1 {print $1}')
second_dsply=$(xrandr | grep " connected" | awk 'FNR == 2 {print $1}')
conf_dsply="xrandr --output $first_dsply --auto --output $second_dsply --primary"

if [[ -n $second_dsply ]]
    $conf_dsply --auto --right-of $first_dsply

Save the script to ~/bin or /usr/local/bin and chmod 755 dualDisplay to make it executable.

Sources: dualDisplay and its companion Library.sh (github.com/vonbrownie)

2. Autostart

Add dualDisplay to ~/.config/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart to run script at login.

3. Wallpaper

Desktop wallpapers are controlled by PCManFM by default in Lubuntu. To configure a different wallpaper for each display... navigate to ~/.config/pcmanfm/lubuntu and modify the wallpaper setting in desktop-items-*.conf:

  • laptop display is desktop-items-0.conf:
  • external display is desktop-items-1.conf:

Save all changes and logout. LXDE will now auto-detect at login if a second display is attached and make the necessary adjustments.

Happy hacking!

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