SUMMARY: One monitor for two systems

From: G. Dimitoglou (
Date: Tue Dec 02 1997 - 16:17:49 CST

OK, I got plenty of answers. Let me summarize...the summary:.

master -- system with monitor+keyboard,
slave -- system with no monitor+keyboard

Option #1: Serial Connection.
As I mentioned in my posting, I dont want this solution because
eventhough it is cheap and feasible, it makes the slave to be dependent
on the master. If master is down, slave aint coming up.

Option #2: X Window displays
IMHO, not feasible. Yes you can do everything with X when all is ok; what
happens when the slave is at the boot prompt?

Option #3: Buy a switch
There are out in the market switches that do this. This is actually the
most correct, and professionally sound solution, but guess what? -- it
costs. From my brief survey the prices can range from $1,800 -
+oo...depending how funky and how many ssystems you want to control
with one wsitch.
(URL's and phone numbers of vendors are in the reponse
segments below.)

Thanks everyone for their input,
George Dimitoglou (SAC)

SOHO ESA/NASA Project Scientist Team
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Bldg. 26, G-1, Code 682.3
Greenbelt, MD 20771
From: (Syed Zaeem Hosain)

Not a clean solution perhaps, but why don't you just run X windows
(OpenWindows) and log into the other system? If the other system is not
running X, then you can attach a serial-port connection for the second
system and 'cu' or 'tip' your way into the console of the other system
from a shell window on the first system.

From: Matthew Stier <>

From: Gary David Jones <>
Go to and check out there Server Switch

From: Michael Panayiotakis <>

Rose Electronics makes a very nice keyboard/monitor switch for SUNs as
well as PCs..we have an eight-port model here for our suns and are
thinking of getting an expantion for it
look at


From: Shriman Gurung <>

Is there any reason you can't use X?
On system 1: openWindows or CDE or X11 running whatever apps you want
                     xhost +system2 set so that the other machine can
use your display

On system2: get to system 2 by telnet/rlogin from system1. set the
DISPLAY variable, eg
                    setenv DISPLAY system1:0.0
                    run whatever applications you want and view the
display on the screen of system1

From: Val <>

Wrightline sells exactly what you're looking for...I don't know any other
details (price,model) but I'm pretty sure they have a web site

From: Joel Lee <>
Yes. Try Network Technology Inc. video switch. Their number is
(800) 742-8324.

From: Jim Harmon <>
Black Box makes a simple switch box that can supply different input to
one output or if connected in reverse, supply multiple output to a
single input.

This might not be useful on Sun systems with intelligent video detection
circuits that kick-off when there's no video detected.

Other companies provide "single console" boxes that intelligently allow
you to have a single monitor and keyboard/mouse for upto 60 Sun
computers, and they maintain a "video detect" on all channels at once,
while only displaying one at a time. Typically these seem to be in the
2000.00 + market.

From: Joseph S D Yao <>
Have you tried two xterms, one from each system, on an X server on one
of the systems?

This won't work at all, of course, for booting the system or running
single-user: only once the systems are fully booted.

From: (Terry D McClurg)
Yes, you need to buy a video switch box. It will have an A/B switch where A
goes to system A video cable and B goes to system B video cable. The center
cable will go to the monitor being shared. I think I bought mine from BlackBox
or something like that. Hope this helps.

From: Tom Bosick <>
Rose Electronics in Houston, TX. carries a product called the UltraView.
Ultra View is a little expensive, but allows for connection to many
different platforms. If you want a Sun only setup contact LightWave

there is "multiplexer server switch". you can use one monitor, one keyborad
and one mouse for more than one servers. We are using for 5 SUN Ultra Sprac
2 servers.

Nesrin OZUS

From: Charlie Mengler <>
It depends upon how fancy you want the solution.

I just have a single monitor that "services" 3 different
Ultra2s. I plug the monitor into the system that I want
to "see" & move the cable to the next system when I
want to work on it.

>From Mon Dec 1 11:30 EST 1997
Check out Lightwave Communications. I don't have a url
but you can call Judy Jovanelly at 800-871-9838. I was
looking at PC and SUN monitor and kbd sharing. They have
a few solutions.

If you want, I'll find the url. I got it out of a
SunExpert issue. Let me know.

From: "George J. Broadfoot III" <>

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