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#1 2005-04-13 12:40:52

jsn
Member
From: Finland
Registered: 2005-03-29
Posts: 19
Website

One computer two users simultaneously?

Hi, I'll try to explain what i would find very usefull feature hopefully i can pull it out nicely and clear enougth. Also i am not programmer/coder so i do not know if the idea is possible at all.

So basic idea is to have only one computer and two users, doing their own tasks at
same time.

There would be two keyboards two monitors and two mouse all plugged to one mainboard, except monitor which would go to gfx card. When computer is powered on, both monitor would have their own login screen and the users could at any time they want login and start using the computer.

Now i thougth this is simple concept so i searched net all-over and under and found only few ideas bit close to this, and some places that would sell special equipment (very expensive) to do this, Mainly breaking the whole idea.

I'm already using seperate X's screens for my crt&tv-out configuration, i think that already is quite good. But i would like to make it one step futher, so i could basicly use the seperate screen totally as its own work unit, without it intefere at all to my crt screen.

The computers nowdays are quite powerfull this kind of tasks that two users would do something simple like surfing web doing some office stuff etc, should not require too much cpu power? Playing something like DOOM3 on both same time. would probably not work that   smoothly.

I can think many good uses to that/this kind of system so i wont do pro's con's list.

Does anyone know if there already is this kind of system with easy method to do and not needing to use extra money if i already have all the hardware needed? Or is this
just simple impossible due hardware limitations?

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#2 2005-04-13 13:00:55

ravster
Member
From: Queen's U, Kingston, Canada
Registered: 2004-05-02
Posts: 285
Website

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

Two monitors I've heard of, but two keyboards? As you said, there are special devices that allow this, but in a vanilla home/office system, there is only one keyboard port.

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#3 2005-04-13 14:00:37

sudman1
Member
From: Huntingdon, UK
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 143

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

Maybe if you have an extra USB keyboard/mouse, you can access them that way, but I don't know how to tell the system that you now have 2 seperate devices...


v/r
Suds

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#4 2005-04-13 15:27:34

Kern
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2005-02-09
Posts: 460

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

maybe investigate IR/Radio keyboard and mice. not sure if these would be "matched rx/tx pairs" tho, to stop other devices interfering, or even if you can set this via a switch to enable multi devices to share one PC I/O port.

Sounds hard getting the PC to recognise who would be doing what, even if you got around the hardware issues.

Have you checked out  Linux Terminal Server Project

altho this is a multi box solution, you can use a thin client diskless workstation which, if new, is not really that cheap.  If however you get a bootable network card, this enables that old "obsolete" box sat in the loft/shed/garage, to be used as a client.

Useful work can then be done at a ratio of many clients (upto 20+ i heard)  to one server.

Probably cheaper than modding a regular PC to accept multiple I/O

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#5 2005-04-13 18:57:09

jsn
Member
From: Finland
Registered: 2005-03-29
Posts: 19
Website

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

Kern wrote:

Sounds hard getting the PC to recognise who would be doing what, even if you got around the hardware issues.

Have you checked out  Linux Terminal Server Project
Probably cheaper than modding a regular PC to accept multiple I/O

LTSP sounds worth checking, it is not exactly what i was thinking, but it does sound like pc architechture is pretty much making whole idea too hard. Thanks for the link, it may yet prove more usefull after i'll get into it more.

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#6 2005-04-13 22:34:04

Michel
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2004-07-31
Posts: 286

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

Hey,

I believe it's possible. I've read about it a while ago I believe. You need to patch your Xserver I think. A good thing would to ask a question on the Xorg-list on this if you use Xorg, Xfree86, ... There is an irc-channel for xorg I believe.

I would first advice you to do the above thing(s) ...
Maybe I found a reference ...

Here is an extract from it:

There is a HOWTO at tldp.org. Look for XFree local multi-user.
 
 The ruby (backstreet ruby for 2.4.x kernels) kernel patch allows interception of events from multiple keyboards to be bound to specific virtual terminals. The latest XFree and Xorg Xservers are now including this ability with the isolateDevice config file option. Older X servers need to be additionally patched. Basically, you craft an X config file to bind specific mice, graphics cards and monitors to their own screen layouts. Of course there is more to it than this. One accepted method is to alter the hotplug subsystem to automatically create your added devices, then you supply symlinks and binding instructions to the device addresses with config files. Keyboards are another matter. They are handled through the ruby patch. Using a 2.6.x kernel, the controlling terminal is assigned the use of virtual terminals 1-17. The next x screen is number 18, etc. The second keyboard, VT1, is automatically bound to the second x screen, VT18. This is of course oversimplified, and yes I've read that this method should work with up to 16 layouts!
 
 What the multiseat package does I don't know. I will try it out this weekend. As far I have researched, it makes it easier to find and configure the several config files you need. If some one knows, please post.


I also foudn this link:

http://cambuca.ldhs.cetuc.puc-rio.br/multiuser/

Michel[/code]

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#7 2005-04-15 12:01:23

jsn
Member
From: Finland
Registered: 2005-03-29
Posts: 19
Website

Re: One computer two users simultaneously?

Michel wrote:

Hey,

I believe it's possible. I've read about it a while ago I believe. You need to patch your Xserver I reference
I also foudn this link:
http://cambuca.ldhs.cetuc.puc-rio.br/multiuser/

Michel[/code]

Indeed, this looks like exactly what i was after, except it needs two videocards but that is just minor flaw, best thing is that this concept seems to be possible! Thank you for those links, i'll try it out in near future!

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