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Build a Six-headed, Six-user Linux System

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HowTos

This tutorial shows how to build a multi-head, multi-user Linux box using a recent distribution of Linux and standard USB keyboards and mice. Xorg calls this arrangement a "multi-seat" system.

The advantages of multi-seat systems in schools, Internet cafes, and libraries include more than just saving money. They include much lower noise pollution, much less power consumption, and lowered space requirements. For many applications, power and noise budgets are as important as initial cost.

To build a multi-seat system you need a video adapter, keyboard, and mouse for each seat. For six seats, you'll also need a motherboard with an AGP slot and five available PCI slots. In our test system we used USB keyboards and mice exclusively, but you can use a PS/2 keyboard and mouse for one of the seats if you wish.

Xorg 6.9 or later is required, but this already ships with many of the major distributions. Our test system uses the free version of Mandriva 2006 and we did not rebuild the kernel or install any additional packages.

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