Boston 2012 Multi-Monitor Session

Notes from the multi-monitor testing session held at Boston Summit 2012. Test conditions: one laptop with an external monitor connected, running GNOME 3.6 and Fedora 18.

Boot process

  • Only show the progress graphic (this was the Fedora loading visual in our tests) on the primary monitor. The secondary monitor should either a) just have the system theme background or b) show a more minimal or small static visual.
  • After loading, a short wait cursor is displayed. Then the screen blanks before loading GDM. The display should go straight from boot progress to GDM with no other noticable stages in the process.
    • The background should be faded in rather than having an abrupt transition.


  • When there are many users in the selection list, there is not enough padding between the list and the top and bottom of the screen. There should be a wide border around it. #685851

  • The distribution logo is displayed in the middle above the list. This visually clashes with the layout of the rest of the login screen. It would be better to place the logo in the top-left hand corner of the screen, in the top bar. #685852

Lock Screen

  • Both screens should blank quite quickly after the screen (less than 10 seconds) is locked. #661017

  • There is a blue rectangle beneath the shield as it slides down - this is caused by the presence of the second monitor. #683251

  • The arrow animation should be displayed on both monitors. #685854

  • The curtain should only come up on the monitor where it has been dragged up - the curtain should stay in place on the other monitor(s). After successful unlock, the curtain should fade out on the monitor where unlock did not take place. #685300

  • If raising the curtain with the keyboard (esc/return), the login screen is displayed on the monitor where the mouse pointer is. It should show login on the primary monitor in this situation. #685855

  • The animated transition from unlock to desktop gets confused with dual monitors - both screens appear to shrink down and fly in opposite directions. #682429

  • The on screen keyboard doesn't appear on the second monitor if that's where the login "dialog"/screen is. It should. #685856

After login

  • The transition from the login screen to the active session shows the system background for a short while (transition is abrupt) before displaying the user background. The system background shouldn't be displayed here. #682429

  • When one window is on the external (secondary) monitor, it is misplaced in the Activities Overview. It should be placed in the center of the display. #683031

  • When a window thumbnail is dragged in the overview, the window on the external monitor moves to make room. It shouldn't do this until the window has actually been dragged on to the external monitor. #685857

  • For applications that lose their titlebar when maximised, there is little (if any) difference between maximised and fullscreen state when they are on an external monitor.
    • One possibility here - pushing up on the top of the screen could give access to window controls and the app menu (this behaviour could be consistent with full screen, where pressing the top of the screen would reveal the top bar).
    • With CSD, maximized applications are not losing their titlebar anymore, so this is not important anymore.
  • Open issue - how to open the overview from the secondary monitor?
  • Half-page snap against edges where screens meet - this can currently done by hovering the dragged window in an area close to the screen edge. This area needs to be increased in size. We also need to use pointer pressure/speed here - a faster/harder movement would let the dragged window passed to the other monitor. A slower movement would allow half-page snap. #685961

Laptop Lid Close (with no mouse connected)

  • Lid close behaviour -

  • When the laptop lid is closed, the external monitor is blanked but the laptop does not suspend. The laptop should suspend, unless there is a valid reason to inhibit suspend by an application (eg. watching a movie on the external display should mean that the laptop does not suspend when the lid is closed). More testing seemed to indicate that we're paying attention to whether an external keyboard is available here - the external monitor stayed on when a keyboard was available.
  • When the laptop lid is reopened, all the windows jump to the other monitor. They shouldn't. This may just be a side-effect of the monitor blanking that is described in the previous point: The windows should jump when the lid is closed - otherwise they're lost in dead space. But due to the screen blanking, we only noticed it when we opened the lid again.

On Screen Keyboard

  • The current implementation assumes that the keyboard is on the same display as the message tray - it contains the "tray" button, for example. #662687

  • Vertical monitor layout - can't drag a window up to the upper monitor. We should use pointer barriers / pressure in the same manner as half-screen tile here. #663690

Displays Settings Panel

  • The confirmation dialog for keeping changes needs to be removed #677790

  • No keynav for moving the monitors around #661178

  • The Change primary display function isn't discoverable, and the drag target is too small. #636216

    • Can we avoid giving this a name - "Primary Monitor" or "Primary Display" won't be meaningful. "Screen with Panel" isn't an accurate description.
  • We need an OSD for when changing which display outputs are used. (Bug 600774)

  • The labels that are shown on each display when the displays settings are open don't look very good, and the labels aren't helpful (eg. "Laptop"). We could simply number each display instead. 689676

  • The orientation handling is not great - the labels are not very meaningful in many cases (tablet), and there should be a way to have automatic orientation handling.


  • Presentations - how to show something on a display? Should most likely be a function that is provided by applications, rather requiring dragging windows. eg. "Show presentation on projector" or "Send movie to projector". Both libreoffice and gnome-documents are trying to do the right thing now.

Events/Summit/2012/Multimonitor (last edited 2014-09-25 20:47:42 by MatthiasClasen)