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If you have one computer, is it possible to simulate having multiple computers - each being tied to it's own monitor/keyboard/mouse?

For example: Assuming I have a single computer running two instances of DamnSmallLinux using virtualbox, and it's connected to two sets of monitors, keyboards, and mice, can both users simultaneously use their respective linux instance?

Use case: You're teaching kid's how to use computers. You have 10 kids but only one computer, but you do have extra peripherals. You hoped you could just buy 10 raspberry pi's but then a freak manufacturing error delayed production, so your trying to plan a way to produce the maximum number of workstations on the minimum amount of hardware.

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10 kids, 1 computer. You could teach them Extreme Programming in five groups of two :-) –  dunxd Mar 15 '12 at 21:41
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

it's quite a old article, but you can do it with

http://linuxgazette.net/124/smith.html

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=707796

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You can also do it with xen and passthrough graphics, usb devices etc. Not as easy as the above though and you'd definately want ATI cards to do it. –  Matt Mar 15 '12 at 21:38
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+1. Unix, unlike MS-DOS, is multi-user. Use terminals, multiple screens, etc. There's no need for the overhead of KVMs (or multiple computers). –  Alexios Mar 18 '12 at 11:31
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Not that i know of, but this MS product might do the trick. Although it sounds like you're under a time constraint.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/multipoint/

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Wonderful, a search for open source multipoint turned up the keyword I was looking for - multiseat. Which led me to this: help.ubuntu.com/community/MultiseatX –  Eric Mar 15 '12 at 21:33
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These day's they aren't so fashionable, but it used to be normal to use Terminals to access servers. The user spaces may be kept separate in a number of ways, including things that to all extents and purposes are similar to virtualisation, for example jails.

You will need some sort of hardware to do this, ranging from cut down computers that have just enough functionality to be clients for Terminal Services or VDI.

Back in 2005, at the TechSoup conference in Seattle, I saw a number of vendors touting hardware that would enable multiple access to a single Windows computer. Unfortunately I don't recall any of the brands, but I would expect that they morphed into VDI solution providers - vendors providing those services might have some entry level options that meet your requrements.

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To be honest, I don't know if this is possible. But what maybe worth a try would be to attach two USB keyboards and two USB mice to the physical machine. You then should be able to tell Virtualbox which USB devices are forwarded to which VM.

My guess would be that this doesn't work, though.

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