Friday, July 13, 2012

Ubuntu Dual Monitor Rant

Ubuntu needs to fix their multi-monitor capabilities. It is an embarrassment compared to Windows and Mac OSX. I normally dock my Thinkpad T420 to a 30" screen (2560x1600) and there are a few gripes.

First of all, you can't have a different wallpaper on different screens. Okay, this is pretty trivial but the next thing really irks me.

The biggest complaint is the phantom area, the missing void, or the land of no-where.
If you look at my screenshot of my display layout above, the area in red is the phantom zone. Since both monitors are of different sizes (1600x900 and 2560x1600), Ubuntu fails to grasp this. It assumes both have similar workspace sizes so windows and icons float between the two, you can have a browser or terminal window lost in this "phantom zone." More importantly, desktop icons and folders get lost. Since my desktop auto-arranges, all the icons are moved to the top left corner. If you manually move and place the icons, they will get re-shifted back to the phantom zone whenever you dock another screen in.

 I don't know who to blame. X11, Canonical, Gnome? It seems to be the same problem with Linux Mint and other distros I've worked with.

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