QNX4 Photon - two monitors - did you managed?

I know QNX 4.25 and Photon 1.13 are quite out of date, but are there some success stories to set up two monitors in Photon? I mean PCI or better PCI-Express graphics cards, maybe Dual Head ones (nVidia Quadro NVS etc.)

Is it even possible with other than Banshee PCI graphic cards?

Is it even possible with today’s resolutions 1920x1080 (or 1920x1200)?

Thank you.

I used to work with QNX 4 with dual monitors. It recall that it was easier to setup with QNX 4 than QNX 6. It is a somewhat manual operation setting configuration files directly. The most likely source of higher resolutions is using VESA, although for some operations, eg. pixel scrolling, the performance may not be acceptable.

I am trying hard with no success. Have older PC, the same two PCI graphics (ATI Radeon 7000 chips), the same two classic LCD monitors 1280x1024, I can do:

  • show_pci - can see the two graphics,
  • Hydra.ms -T >file - secondary monitor “wakes up” (amber sleep LED becomes green (but still no picture on the secondary monitor), PC doesn’t hang, everything seems to be OK),
  • trapped “file” seems to be OK too (very similar to that one in QNX document).

But when I edit the “file” for the two graphics (split primary, insert secondary and sew together) according to that QNX document, put it in etc/config/trap renaming it to “crt.[node]” and running “ph”, both screens write “Out of range” - and even on the first monitor the green LED becomes amber (no signal, sleep mode).

Are there some graphic chips which only work with Hydra.ms modeswitcher?

Any ideas?

It seems unlikely that at 1280x1024 your monitors would be out of range because the video was too fast. Are these modern 1920x720 monitors. Maybe the video is too slow?

No, the monitors are old-fashioned 19" LCDs in classic (non-wide) format 1280x1024.

I think that the problem is, that it is not possible to see the graphic picture (ph) even on single monitor with crt.[node] trapped by Hydra.ms -T >file and placed/renamed/any row from Primary or Secondary graphic card copied to the first row.

Is there some list of supported graphic chips for Hydra.ms -T >file trapped crt.[node]?

How to try if a single graphic card (e.g. my ATI Radeon 7000 PCI card) is suitable/compatible for Hydra.ms -T >file created crt.[node]?

QNX document writes, that only PCI cards are supported for Dual Monitor. But maybe that in the days of that document there were no AGP and for sure there were no PCI-Express graphics. Is it possible, that some PCI-Express cards would be OK for Dual Monitor (Hydra non-accelerated or specific Photon “driver” accelerated (the other method of 3Dfx Voodoo Banshee))?

I don’t know why you are having trouble using just one monitor. I’m sure you are correct about AGP and PCI express also working as dual monitors. The likely issue they were concerned about was ISA video cards.

I always found dual headed cards the best. I don’t know of a list.

I have e.g. nVidia Quadro NVS 295 Dual Head PCIE graphics, but show_pci “sees” it as only one graphics adapter.
I suppose that the strong requirement is that show_pci could see two video adapters. Am I wrong?

On the other side I have non-dual-head graphics card ATI Radeon PCIE (with DVI and VGA out) and show_pci “sees” it as two graphic adapters. Photon traps that card only as vesabios.ms/Pg.svgadc and both connected displays (DVI and VGA) live immediately in clone (presentation) mode - the same picture in text mode and also in Photon. But Hydra.ms -T >file could not trap it (only two lines of comment - #Card1… and #Card2… and no video modes).


If the nVidia card does not appear to show_pci as two devices, then it’s not two devices. That means to use it properly you would need a native driver. But nVidia was never willing to provide hardware specs on their cards, so QNX could only provide the Vesa driver. QNX used to have a good relationship with ATI and provided good native support. That was before cards started supporting HD. Your description of the ATI card is dual-head. The heads don’t have to be the same interface. Even so, you probably need a native driver and this card may be too recent.

So the last question - is that not possible to manage two monitors with two separate or one dual-head graphic card/s which are detected only as vesabios.ms / Pg.svgadc ?

If yes, I have only these possibilities (show_pci must “see” two graphic adapters):

  • two separate (the same or not) older graphic cards which can run with Hydra.ms each,
  • one dual-head older graphic card which can run with Hydra.ms,
  • two separate (the same or not) older graphic cards which can run with their’s specific accelerated QNX Photon driver,
  • one dual-head older graphic card which can run with their’s specific accelerated QNX Photon driver?

Honestly, I don’t know anymore. This is the opposite of uncharted territory. It is knowledge from a long time ago. My best recollection is that ATI cards were the best supported, so if you have a supported dual headed ATI I would stick with it. There was one other brand that worked well. I don’t remember the name, but I think I have one in my drawer of legacy hardware.

The way to deal with this stuff is the same way we dealt with it back then. Try everything. See what works.

:frowning: I tried all PCI and PCIE older graphic cards I have (a lot of, even old ATIs) with no success. I cannot find any two graphic cards or any one dual-head graphic card which fulfill both:

  1. are show_pci detected as two graphic cards,
  2. Hydra.ms -T or crttrap trap detect them both (not only two “comment” lines with the “names” of the two graphic cards, or one card detected completely and second only the “comment” line with their “name”),

to play with detected files and try further.

Howewer, some graphics work both immediately “on HW level” - displaying the same picture (Windows world call that “Presentation mode”) - in text mode and even in Photon graphic mode.

Your posts have gotten me curious. For another project I had to set up a QNX 4 machine. I went through my Video Card drawer and came up with a few likely candidates, Matrox, ATI and 3DFX. If you are interested, let me know and I will try all or some of them and let you know how things turn out. I’m 95% sure I can get 2 3DFX cards to work and an ATI. I have some PCI and some AGP.


It would be great if you could try - I need one positive example and maybe the exact step-by-step instruction how to succeed. I feel that it should be possible (while doing Hydra.ms -T or crttrap trap, in some cases the secondary monitor LED came up from Sleep (Amber) mode to Power On (Green) but black screen and the trapped file was always non complete).

My target is to set up two monitors in Photon (extended desktop in Windows terminology), the best would be the FullHD resolution (1920x1080 or 1920x1200).

I will be glad to go forward, but I can already see an obvious problem with your request, 1920x1080. This is HD resolution. As far as I recall, the nice QNX relationship with ATI ended before ATI HD cards came out. nVidia was never cooperative. So no native drivers for this resolution. The only possibility then would be a VESA solution, assuming you could get two cards to work at this resolution in VESA. Very unlikely. On top of all this, if you did get it to work, since there is no hardware scroll in VESA, if you did try a pixel scroll, the performance would be a step beyond awful.

So phase 1 was a big failure. A number of my cards are AGP but the system I setup only has PCI slots. I did get a dual headed matrox card installed. It appears as two video devices, whoopie. But then there’s this mysterious double driver situation. There’s a matbios that crttrap sets up along with Pg.matrox. I could not figure out how to modify crt.1 to work with both heads. I’ll try again tomorrow with some alternative cards.

Thank you maschoen for your interest and effort. In first step we can use standard resolutions e.g. 1280x1024 or 1600x1200.

I think that we should forget about AGP graphic cards - this way is closed in these days. But PCI and PCI-Express are OK (you could buy older chipset models at least from second hand).

I succeeded in Photon with wide resolutions 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 with several graphic card + monitor combinations by editing properly the crtc-settings.[node] file in etc/config/trap. But maybe (don’t remember) that all the cases were with native (accelerated) Photon driver.

That’s my question - if it is even possible to set up two monitors with any two supported (accelerated) graphic cards too? Or only with 3DFX Voodoo Banshee or cards supported by Hydra.ms/vesabios.

Yes, you are exactly at that point - you have two graphic “cards” (show_pci sees them as two graphic adapters) but Hydra.ms -T and crttrap trap don’t list the parameters for both of them.

Maybe show_pci -v[vv] shows some important parameters?

show_pci showed the memory address and I/O ports. When I changed these for the 2nd card, I got very strange results. I think there is something weird about the matrox cards as they seem to need two programs, a BIOS and a driver. I’m going to try ATI next.

Well my pile of legacy equipment has let me down. The PCI cards did not let me create two monitors. I tried another machine with an AGP slot, and though QNX 4 installs, it does not boot? I can’t figure out why. This was a much faster machine, even though it is already on the junk heap. Sorry about that.