Monitor configuration spoiled after reboot Plasma 5.10.2

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Wed Aug 2 03:54:56 BST 2017

I. Thomas posted on Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:24:37 +0200 as excerpted:

> Dear all!
> I have a notebook (screen resolution 1600x900) and attached via HDMI a
> second monitor (Full HD)
> When I set up my second screen properly so that the laptop screen is off
> and the second external monitor is my primary display and then do a
> reboot, the second screen becomes a second screen again without task bar
> or widgets, but also the notebook screen is this way. So I do not see my
> true first desktop working area as I would if I had just booted the
> notebook.

FWIW, even on my desktop with multiple monitors, I don't trust plasma to 
get it right any more, because it has years and years of screwing things 

Heh, at least these years it brings them back at the proper resolution 
(it used to be way crazier!), but it can't keep relative position even 
with a hint from the xorg configuration setup exactly the way I want it 
already, and it has problems keeping the desktop, as well.

> Only with Function + F8 hardware key combination for external monitor
> switching I can bring back my primary desktop image on the notebook, but
> then I have to reconfigure the second screen etc.
> The other way is to unplug the second screen and then do a reboot
> (forced by "Power"
> hardware key as I have no access to start menu etc.)

FWIW I'm running plasma-5 on kde-frameworks-5, live-git versions of each, 
altho current release behavior should be the same as the below as it 
hasn't changed (other than the folder desktop by default) for some time.

Note that unless you've configured it otherwise, plasma should be 
configured, as it at least used to be by default (not sure if the switch 
to the folder desktop by default changed it or not), to popup a desktop 
context menu on the usual right-click, and that should have the "leave" 
option even if the usual menu isn't available.

Another alternative, also by default as you can turn it off, is the 
desktop toolbox, which should be in the corner by default and looks like 
the standard pancake-menu icon (in plasma4 it was a plasma icon).  
Clicking that should present a menu with a "leave" option as well.

In either case clicking "leave" should bring up the usual leave dialog 
with the shutdown, logout, reboot, etc, options.

Finally, there's krunner, plasma's run dialog, which has a hotkey, Alt-F2 
being the older default with Alt-space being the new default, that 
launches it.  It should also be available via the right-click on the 
desktop context menu as mentioned above.

In the run dialog, as well as typing the name of an application or a web 
address, you can type things like shutdown, reboot, etc, and it'll give 
you relevant choices.  FWIW you can also use krunner to do math (3*15= 
and it'll tell you the answer), get measurement conversions (type 50C and 
it'll give you the equivalent in F and K, type 3m and it'll give you the 
various inches, yards, miles, cm, mm, etc, conversions), do searches, etc.

So there's lots of ways to reboot, shutdown, etc, even if the usual 
kickoff or similar menu isn't available. =:^)

> My goal is to have laptop screen switched off and use the notebook with
> exteral screen so that after reboot the external screen is still the
> primary logical screen with task bar, menus and widgets.
> Thank you very much in advance for helping!

As to the primary problem at hand, there's a couple plasma components 
that interact.  One is kscreen, which is supposed to remember what 
configuration you last used that particular set of monitors in and 
restore it using xorg's RandR protocol.  The xorg generic version is 
xrandr, which you run it a terminal (konsole) window.  The other is 
plasma-desktop, which provides the desktop contents (called activities), 
panels, etc.  There's also a third piece, called kactivitymanager, that 
is supposed to track the available activities, which one is current, etc.

Unfortunately, these three components don't always cooperate in the way 
they're supposed to as envisioned by the authors.  What I did here, with 
a desktop and a static monitor configuration, is setup the way I want it 
in xorg.conf, and then actually uninstall kscreen for awhile.  Later I 
installed it again, but in kde/plasma system services, under startup and 
shutdown, background services, I unchecked kscreen2, so the automatic 
screen management (kscreen) didn't trigger but I could still run it in 
plasma system settings.

That solved the problem for me, for the most part.  Every once in awhile 
something weird still happens to the activities, but probably 95% or 
better (19 times out of 20) they behave properly.

But that's less likely to be an acceptable solution for you with a 
laptop, presumably plugging and unplugging one or more external monitors, 
maybe projectors, etc.

Another hack I was forced to "invent" in the plasma4 era was setup the 
activities the way I wanted them, then manually edit the config files 
(plasmadesktoprc, I believe the name's different in plasma5, and 
kactivitymanagerrc) using a text editor to remove all the "extra" stuff 
that didn't belong there, then set them read-only.  When I started plasma/
kde it would forget the configured activity and start a new/blank one, 
but it couldn't write it as the files were read-only.  Then I could use 
the run dialog to "killall plasmadesktop" and then restart it 
"plasmadesktop", and it'd work.  I eventually scripted it, so a script 
would sleep a few seconds after I started kde/plasma, kill plasmadesktop, 
and restart it.

Luckily I haven't had to do anything that drastic on plasma5, but I do 
occasionally find myself having to restart "plasmashell" occasionally, 
when things screw up.  Tho to be fair I *am* running the direct git live 
versions, updating every few days, and a bit of instability should be 
expected when running prerelease or even live-git versions, as I'm doing 
now, instead of waiting for release stability.  So I can't complain too 
badly, particularly since it's not *near* as bad as the kde4/plasma4 
version and the hacks I had to do to get it to reliably remember my 

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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