Getting dual-head monitors going with an nvidia card on Debian is largely a pleasingly straightforward business.
/etc/apt/sources.list to include the contrib and non-free repositories, and run
apt-get update. Install the driver as follows:
apt-get install nvidia-kernel-common module-assistant m-a -i prepare m-a a-i -i -t -f nvidia-kernel depmod -a apt-get install nvidia-glx nvidia-glx-dev
lsmodto check that the nvidia module is loaded.
The final task is to edit your xserver config, which is the bit where I encountered a slight gotcha this time around; hence this post.
If both monitors can handle the same resolution, editing the
Device section of your
/etc/X11/XF86Config-4 (sarge) or
/etc/X11/xorg.conf (etch) as follows should work:
Make sure you use appropriate sync and refresh values (these work for HP 1702 flat panel & a standard Transtec 19″ flat panel), and that the BusID is correct (
Section "Device" Identifier "NVIDIA Corporation NV44 [Quadro NVS 285]" Driver "nvidia" BusID "PCI:1:0:0" Option "TwinView" "true" #Option "ConnectedMonitor" "FPD,FPD" Option "MetaModes" "1600x1200,1600x1200; 1280x1024,1280x1024" Option "SecondMonitorHorizSync" "31-80" Option "SecondMonitorVertRefresh" "56-76" Option "TwinViewOrientation" "RightOf" EndSection
lspcioutput - look for the line corresponding to your card.
However, if your monitors don’t support the same resolution, you’ll need to change this line:
(you may also need to try swapping the two entries around - e.g.
Option "MetaModes" "1024x768,1280x1024"
1280x1024,1024x768- depending on which one is being seen first). If you don’t get this right, you’ll have one screen coming up OK, and the other one coming up blank. I spent some time battling with this before the solution occurred to me; I hope therefore that this information is useful to someone else!
FWIW I’d also note that different resolution monitors is suboptimal for a TwinView setup; sometimes one has to make do with what one has, though.