Sat, 03 Jan 2009

Multiseat setup via Userful

As I had blogged a while back, multiseat use broke following the normal upgrade to Ubuntu 8.10. I had also suggested a fix but it turns out that the fix didn't work. So we had a clear regression -- multiseat use of a single Ubuntu workstation with two screens, two keyboards and two mice no longer worked. Consequently, the kids ended up 'serializing' access to their computer letting the second screen go idle.

Shortly after Christmas, that computer suffered a catastrophic disk failure (and as an aside, I hate LVM when that happens...). So I reinstalled, this time using the Ubuntu rather Kubuntu variant. This should allow use of Userful Multiplier --- a commercial multiseat solution with free two-seat licenses. The base package even comes via the Ubuntu repos.

I still had a couple of minor issues. One was possibly related to the Radeon card (as in: don't drive one monitor in dvi mode and one in analog mode but rather use both in analog mode via a dvi/analog dongle) so the live cdrom offered by Userful just went into a perpetual 'reconfigure, reboot, reconfigure, reboot, ...' loop. Another hitch was that their license manager no longer wanted to use the license key I had requested in November when I tried in vain to use Userful with KDE. And of course I wouldn't a new key as the home ip address hadn't changed... Now, with a newly requested key from another IP address, things appear to work at last using the default Gnome setup --- and the kids are back in proper 'parallel' use of their workstation.

All in all, Userful Multiplier is a nice and useful product especially as long as stock XFree does them the favour of no longer competing in the basic two-seat case.

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