Listing displays

To list the available video displays that are connected to the computer, we just have to query the Connector entities and check if there is a video display connected to them.

The whole source code for this chapter can be found here. It detects the available video displays and reports information about them.

  • We retrieve information about all the entities for each card with getEntities card

  • Connectors (retrieved with entitiesConnectors) have connectorType and connectorByTypeIndex fields which can be used to query the kind of connector (HDMI, VGA, DVI, etc.) and the connector index for the given kind of connector.

  • Connectors also have a connectorState field which can be used to detect connected display:

case connectorState conn of
   Disconnected      -> -- no connected display
   ConnectionUnknown -> -- we can't know
   Connected display -> -- we have a connected display!
  • We get the supported modes of the display with displayModes field of display, physical size in millimeters with displayPhysicalWidth/Height, the sub-pixel layout with displaySubPixel (can be used to perform sub-pixel rendering) and other properties with displayProperties.

Hint: we could have used forEachConnectedDisplay function to do all of this listing and filtering more simply.

Example of run into QEMU with Linux 5.1.15:

> git clone
> cd haskus-system/haskus-system-examples
> haskus-system-build test --init TutDisplays

Probing Connector 33: Virtual-1
Physical size: 0mm X 0 mm
Sub-pixel layout: SubPixelUnknown
1024x768 60MHz -HSync -VSync
        h: width 1024 start 1048 end 1184 total 1344 skew    0
        v: width  768 start  771 end  777 total  806 scan    0
1920x1080 60MHz -HSync -VSync
        h: width 1920 start 2008 end 2052 total 2200 skew    0
        v: width 1080 start 1084 end 1089 total 1125 scan    0
1600x1200 60MHz +HSync +VSync
        h: width 1600 start 1664 end 1856 total 2160 skew    0
        v: width 1200 start 1201 end 1204 total 1250 scan    0
    var DPMS = On :: Enum [On,Standby,Suspend,Off]
    var link-status = Good :: Enum [Good,Bad]
    val non-desktop = False :: Bool
    var CRTC_ID = 0 :: Object

Detecting Plugging/Unplugging

To detect when a video display is connected or disconnected, we could periodically list the Connectors and check their connectorState property as we have done above.

However a better method is to use a mechanism explained in the basic device management page: when the state of a Connector changes, the kernel sends to the user-space an event similar to the following one:

   { kernelEventAction = ActionChange
   , kernelEventDevPath = "/devices/.../drm/card0"
   , kernelEventSubSystem = "drm"
   , kernelEventDetails = fromList

When our system receives this event, we know it has to check the state of the Connectors.

Also remember that Connector entities can appear and disappear at runtime. That’s because some technologies (such as DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport) allow the use of connectors hubs which increases the number of video displays that can be connected at the same time.