Running Nine USB-Based Displays On Linux
Last May we were briefed that DisplayLink would provide open-source driver support on Linux. DisplayLink is a company that makes graphics processors capable of powering high resolution displays that work over a USB connection. This technology is found within products from Hewlett-Packard, ASUS, Samsung, and others. Since last year DisplayLink and the Linux community has been working on a LGPLv2 software stack and in June first released a frame-buffer and X.Org driver and since has released other improvements.
The DisplayLink kernel driver landed in the staging area with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel and there are additional patches already queued up for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel. This afternoon though, Bernie Thompson of Plugable, a company that sells products using DisplayLink technology, shared with us an interesting video. The video (embedded below) shows nine USB DisplayLink displays with touch-screen support all being connected to an Apple Mac Mini that is running Ubuntu 9.10. The video itself was made by Hal Glenn of 2G Engineering.
These graphics processors may not be as powerful as the discrete ATI/AMD and NVIDIA offerings, but they're low-power and there is no limit to how many can be connected to a single system (besides USB 2.0 bandwidth deficiencies). This is also running a fully open-source driver stack. AMD previously showcased a 24 monitor setup on Linux using their Eyefinity Technology, but that required four high-end ATI Radeon graphics cards and their proprietary driver stack in an unreleased form.
For those interested in building their own USB monitor array on Linux, Amazon sells many DisplayLink products. Shopping from the above link (thanks to commissions) will also help us in continuing to provide us with the latest Linux hardware news.
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