Multiple X servers on one machine (was: Different OS's? Marketshare)

Greg 'groggy' Lehey grog at
Thu Feb 24 03:23:48 GMT 2005

This is an excellent idea of why the weekly "how to ask questions"
message suggests changing the Subject: line to match changes in topic.
I have been deleting this thread, and only by chance did I stumble on
this message before deleting it.

On Wednesday, 23 February 2005 at 21:05:30 -0600, Kevin Kinsey wrote:
> markzero wrote:
>>>> Is it possible to install multiple X servers on the same machine so that
>>>> one can fire up whichever one strikes one's fancy at a given time?
>>> I don't see why not, although it'd probably be more common to
>>> simply kill one wm session and start another to save resources.
>>> Maybe it's possible.  I don't know if, since you've just one
>>> DISPLAY (in theory, anyhow) you would configure it.
>>> Hmm, just tested.  No can do, because just one DISPLAY.  Maybe some
>>> X guru has a solution.  GNOME on ttyv1, fluxbox on ttyv2, term on ttyv3
>>> etc., etc.... Would be pretty cool.
>> This is certainly possible. You need to start X via something other than
>> startx as you must manually set DISPLAY vars. I have run two X servers on
>> my machine many times - one running a local desktop environment and the
>> other running a WM from a remote box over SSH (for no particular reason
>> other than that it's fun).
> I figured there was a way.  Most times there is.  I was thinking
> two Xservers, one monitor.  CTL-ALT-F2 is Desktop B, CTL-ALT-F3
> is desktop C, etc.  How 'bout that?

Well, the terminology is "server", not "desktop".  But yes, that can work.

> Of course, I really have no idea *why*, either; but it does at least
> sound "fun".

Been there, done that, wrote a diary entry: .

The secret is to specify a different server number for each server.
In the example in the diary entry, I had different window managers
running on each of three servers.  The scripts are in the diary entry.

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