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February 14, 2003

The history of the 3 monitors

I received an out-of-band question about why an academic needs 3 monitors, and whether emacs has dual monitor support? First of all I never used emacs, always was a vi user, always will be. Being intimately familiar with the vi command set, especially in line mode, has been very useful on many occasions, and comes from the days of when I was debugging BSD2.8 on PDP-11's over a serial line.

The trigger for the 3 monitor setup also comes from the past. about 4-5 years ago we got involved with the financial services community surrounding a number of the larger exchanges. I worked with them on their scalability and reliability problems. The developers, engineers and architects all had similar setups to the brokers & trader that you normally see in movies: 3-6 displays, each dedicated to a certain task. We didn't use them for that purpose, but invariably the setup was: one screen to run the app, one to debug and one to run collaboration software. Until then I had always used some screen management software to flip between desktops and but the increased ease-of-use of concurrent screens (especially being able to debug and devel/test at different screens) had me hooked very quickly. Soon after this I went to the university basement, got myself two old monitors to complement the one I had and never looked back after that.

How can an academic afford this kind of real-estate? You get hardware vendors to give them to you! The SGIs I have were donated as a token of appreciation for the work I did on U-Net (the research predecessor of the VIA). And the Sony I got from someone who didn't realize it had a builtin fan, and he wanted a quieter office...

Posted by Werner Vogels at February 14, 2003 01:15 PM


hello there,

I am from austria and an enthusiastic flight sim "pilot". I am using the nvidia 4800ti card,
running two monitors now. is it possible that I can run a 3rd monitor with a 2nd pci-grafic-card?
and do u know which card is running without problems with my first card?.
I am very pleased if u could help me out with that problem.

Posted by: Wolfgang Baumeister on November 16, 2003 08:37 AM