Using dual-monitor setup with 2 independent screens


I'm not sure whether this is the right list to send my question to. If
it isn't please direct me in the right direction :-)

I have a dual-monitor setup with both screens setup as independent x
displays (so no twinview or xinerama).  Apparently this type of setup
isn't used much however I like it very much as it allows me to keep my
mail or a web browser open on 1 screen while working and switching
viewports independently on the other screen.  Unfortunately with this
setup it is not possible to drag windows from one display to the other,
however I don't mind as long as there is a reliable way to start
applications on the display where I want them to be.  Now there is the
rub: depending on the Linux distribution and even the version of the
distribution, starting applications from the Gnome menu bars or the menu
I get when right-clicking the desktop background will start applications
on the screen where I'm clicking or more likely always on the first
display (making it impossible to work as I can't drag them to the other
display).  For instance in Ubuntu 9.04 most applications I start from
the top menu bar will insist on appearing on the first display (not all
of them however?). Most notably it is now impossible for me to start an
xterm on my second display (I know I can force this by manually starting
the application with the '--display ' option but that's not easy to work
with as my wife also uses my pc so the display number will change
depending on who logged in first). Note that Ubuntu 8.10 did not have
this problem.  I already asked this question in the Ubuntu forum but
there I mainly got blank stares. I'm assuming this behaviour has
something to do with the Gnome version being used which is why I'm
trying my luck here now.

So, is there a way to change this behaviour so applications started from
the menu bars at the top and bottom of the screen will always start on
that specific display?

Or otherwise how can I change the menu I get when I right-click on the
desktop background? Whatever I start from this menu seems to appear on
the correct display. Unfortunately there isn't much useful in this menu
on Ubuntu.  The information I found on the Gnome website regarding
changing menus seems to be mostly about chaning the menus for the top
and bottom menu bars.

Thanks in advance,


 With kind regards,

Nico De Ranter
Senior System Administrator
Techsoft Centre

Technology and Software Centre Europe
The Corporate Village - Da Vincilaan 7-D1 - B-1935 Zaventem - Belgium

Phone:    +32 (0)2 700 8611
Fax:      +32 (0)2 700 8622
E-mail:   nico deranter eu sony com

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