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Krister's Blog
krister at hallergard dot com


Last Updated:
2016-10-08
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Clone Displays on Linux KDE Plasma 5 - not quite SOLVED

KDE is my prefered Linux Desktop Dnvironment. Or rather it used to be until 18 months ago, when Kubuntu 15.04 got KDE with the new Plasma 5 shell. And a couple of months later Plasma 5 came to Fedora 22. The main problem for me was that it was no longer possible to "Unify Outputs", to clone my PC's monitor onto the TV screen, which is connected via an HDMI cable to the PC's video card (GeForce GT210). With this Home Theater setup I could stream Internet onto the TV and control the PC from the TV couch with a RF remote control.

At the end of 2015 also openSUSE Leap 42.1 got Plasma 5 and a couple of months ago it also came to Linux Mint 18 KDE. Initially Plasma 5 had loads of bugs and showed general instability, most of these problems have now been sorted. But still there is the inability to Unify Displays. But there is hope at the end of the tunnel: KDE now has development versions for which Unify Displays (or Unify Output) works, as from Plasma 5.7.
View New Video 4 min    View Previous Video 5 min

The Problem - Re-Login

Unify Outputs actually works, as long as you don't log out and then log in again. In this example with Kubuntu 16.04 (Plasma 5.5.5) after re-login both the monitor and the TV have lost the desktop icons and widgets, and only show the panel icons and widgets.

Another problem, when the output is not unified, is that at times especially when starting an app from the panel, it shows up on the TV only, and the app in then not possible to control from the PC.

In the previous version a few other problems were shown.


Before Unify


After Unify
Note the TV - upper right corner!


After Re-Login


The Solution - Plasma 5.7.5? Not quite - see here!

There is not yet any stable distro release with Plasma 5.7 (at least the distros I am using), though there is hope that it will be included in Kubuntu 16.10, to be released next week. The interim solution is to install using these development repositories:

'http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-ppa/staging-plasma/ubuntu xenial main'
'http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-ppa/staging-kdeapplications/ubuntu xenial main'

Kubuntu 16.04 - Plasma 5.7.5

After Unify - Before and After Re-Login
Linux Mint 18 KDE - Plasma 5.7.5

After Unify - Before and After Re-Login


What about openSUSE? I did try Tumbelweed and it did install Plasma 5.7. But I was asked to install the proprietary graphic drivers. I do not want the hazzle of reinstalling these drivers with every kernel update - which are frequent for Tumbleweed. So I will have to wait for the Leap 42.2 release due in November. And Fedora? I have given up on Fedora, as it is a bit too much bleeding edge for me.