Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Extend Your Desktop to a Monitor Over LAN

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In today’s digital world, we often find ourselves working across multiple screens. Whether you’re a developer, a graphic designer, or simply someone who multitasks across several applications, extending your desktop to a monitor over a Local Area Network (LAN) can significantly enhance your productivity. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to achieve this.

Quick Answer

To extend your desktop to a monitor over a LAN, you can use tools like Xdmx, Synergy, x11vnc with the VNC Virtual Display Linker, or VirtualGL. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Understanding the Basics

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s important to understand what extending your desktop over LAN means. Essentially, it involves using a network connection to display your computer’s desktop on another monitor. This is different from mirroring, where the same content is displayed on both screens. Extending your desktop allows you to drag and drop windows from one screen to another, effectively increasing your workspace.

Using Xdmx

One way to extend your desktop to a monitor over LAN is by using the Xdmx (Distributed Multihead X) project. However, please note that this project has been inactive for some time, and may not work with all systems.

To install Xdmx, you can use the following command:

sudo apt install xdmx

This command uses sudo to run the operation with root privileges, apt is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, and install is the command to download and install the package named xdmx.

Unfortunately, the Xdmx project does not have a dedicated website, but you can find the source code on the project’s CVS repository.

Using Synergy

Synergy is another tool that allows you to share a keyboard and mouse between multiple computers. While it does not allow you to drag and drop windows between displays, it does provide an intuitive GUI and can be a simpler solution if you only need to run applications on the extra display. You can download Synergy from their official website.

Using x11vnc and VNC Virtual Display Linker

If neither Xdmx nor Synergy meet your requirements, you can try using x11vnc along with the VNC Virtual Display Linker. This approach involves running x11vnc on the server machine and a VNC client on the client machine.

To install x11vnc, use the following command:

sudo apt install x11vnc

This command works in the same way as the command to install Xdmx, but it installs the x11vnc package instead.

To set up the virtual display, you will need to know the screen sizes of both machines. You can find detailed instructions on setting up the virtual display on the x11vnc website.

Using VirtualGL

VirtualGL is another option that allows you to extend your desktop over a LAN connection and even supports OpenGL. You can find more information about VirtualGL on their official website.

Conclusion

Extending your desktop to a monitor over a LAN connection can significantly increase your productivity by providing additional workspace. Depending on your specific requirements, you can use Xdmx, Synergy, x11vnc with the VNC Virtual Display Linker, or VirtualGL to achieve this. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

What is the benefit of extending my desktop to a monitor over LAN?

Extending your desktop over LAN allows you to increase your workspace and productivity by having multiple screens to work with. You can drag and drop windows between screens, effectively expanding your desktop space.

Can I extend my desktop to a monitor over LAN using Xdmx?

Yes, you can use Xdmx to extend your desktop to a monitor over LAN. However, please note that the Xdmx project has been inactive for some time and may not work with all systems.

Is there an alternative to Xdmx for extending my desktop over LAN?

Yes, you can also use Synergy, x11vnc with the VNC Virtual Display Linker, or VirtualGL as alternatives to Xdmx. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that best fits your needs.

Can I download Synergy from their official website?

Yes, you can download Synergy from their official website at https://symless.com/synergy.

How do I install x11vnc?

To install x11vnc, you can use the following command:

sudo apt install x11vnc

This command will download and install the x11vnc package.

Where can I find instructions on setting up the virtual display with x11vnc?

You can find detailed instructions on setting up the virtual display with x11vnc on the x11vnc website.

Can I use VirtualGL to extend my desktop over LAN?

Yes, VirtualGL is another option that allows you to extend your desktop over a LAN connection and even supports OpenGL. You can find more information about VirtualGL on their official website at https://www.virtualgl.org/.

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