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A distribution like Arch Linux has six virtual terminals accessible by the keyboard keys alt + F1, F2, ..., F6 by default. Running xinit starts the X display which is accessible by alt + F7.

I wish to run two X displays, one at alt + F7 and one at alt + F8. How do I do this?

I am sure I am not looking for the virtual desktop provided by the window manager. I actually want two X displays. The solution should, for example, let me run two different window managers.


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In /etc/inittab you will find something like this:

c1:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty1 linux
c2:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty2 linux
c3:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty3 linux
c4:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty4 linux
c5:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty5 linux
c6:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 -s 38400 tty6 linux

The line after that controls X., copy it, put it right after, change all 7s to 8. Add -- :1 after it if there is no :0, or change :0 to :1.

Note: I don't have an Arch Linux installation with me. This is the theory.

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Give a different display number to the X server – e.g. xinit -- :1 – or use startx, which automatically chooses the first unused display (based on /tmp/.X*-lock).

The new X11 display will run on the first unallocated VT; this can be changed by adding an vcN argument: xinit -- :1 vt08 for the 8th VT. (This way, Xorg can even re-use VTs that already have a getty or another text-mode program running in them.)

See Xorg(1) for more about this.

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