Running program in separate X display

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Notes: same topic (Discuss in Talk:Running program in separate X display#)

It may often be handy to run some program in separate X display. I.e. 3D games for gaining performance, or making alt+tab-style switching possible with ctrl+alt+[F7-F12].

The simplest way would be:

xinit appname -- :10

Basic script

But if you have ~/.xinitrc in place, you should use full path to app to override it. Also there can be some environment variables and X options to pass. So the smart way would be to pack it all into a wrapper:

#!/bin/bash

# calculate first available VT
LVT=`fgconsole --next-available`

# calculate first usable display
XNUM="-1"
SOCK="something"
while [ ! -z "$SOCK" ]
do
XNUM=$(( $XNUM + 1 ))
SOCK=$(ls -A -1 /tmp/.X11-unix | grep "X$XNUM" )
done
NEWDISP=":$XNUM"

if [ ! -z "$*" ]
# generate exec line if arguments are given
then
# test if executable exists
 if [ ! -x "$(which $1 2> /dev/null)" ] 
then
echo "$1: No such executable!"
# if running from X, display zenity dialog:
[ -z "$DISPLAY" ] || zenity --error --text="$1: No such executable!" 2> /dev/null
exit 127
fi
# generate exec line
EXECL="$(which $1)"
shift 1
EXECL="$EXECL $*"
EXECPH=""

# prepare to start new X sessions if no arguments passed
else
EXECL=""
EXECPH="New X session"
fi

# if runing from X, display zenity dialog:
[ -z "$DISPLAY" ] || zenity --question --title "Launch?" --text="Will launch \"$EXECL$EXECPH\"

tty$LVT
X display $NEWDISP

Continue?" 2> /dev/null || exit 1

echo "Will launch \"$EXECL$EXECPH\" on tty$LVT, X display $NEWDISP..."
[ -z "$DISPLAY" ] && sleep 1s


# This flag is used for indication of unaccessible or broken DRI.
# It is set, for example, when using fglrx+compiz-manager.
# Some games will refuse to start if it is set.
# Unsetting it should not do any harm, and can be useful.
unset LIBGL_ALWAYS_INDIRECT

##########################################################
# main execution
xinit $EXECL -- $NEWDISP vt$LVT -nolisten tcp -br &
##########################################################

# set our new dislplay
DISPLAY=$NEWDISP
# wait some time for X to load
sleep 4s

# then we set useful parameters

# disable non-linear mouse acceleration
xset m 1 0

# disable hard-coded default 10m screensaver
xset s 0 0

# while X is running, persistently do something useful
# i.e. prevent apps from enabling mouse acceleration and screensaver
while xset -q > /dev/null
do 
xset m 1 0
xset s 0 0
sleep 3s
done


wait
sleep 5

General principle: set variables before xinit line, and xset parameters after.

Save it as /usr/bin/xrun or better as /usr/local/bin/xrun (if you have /usr/local/bin/ in your $PATH)

After that launching app in separate X display should be as easy as typing

xrun appname

remove lines containing zenity, if you do not have zenity installed.


Permission problems

See General Troubleshooting#Session permissions for details.