Setting Up DisplayLink USB Monitor

Portable usb monitors are the best thing since sliced bread!

Posted by Shikher Verma on Sunday, August 6, 2017 Tags: CodeMonkey   10 minute read

Setting up Display Link USB monitor on Arch Linux

I recently bought a USB external monitor ( amazon link: AOC e1759Fwu). Installing necessary drivers for it was a little non-trivial so I am documenting my installation, just in case someone else encounters the same problem.

Kernel Headers

Install Linux kernel headers because kernel headers are needed to use DKMS (Dynamic Kernel Module Support).

DKMS allow managing and using kernel modules which are outside the kernel source code. We will add a DKMS kernel module for multiple monitors.

If you haven’t changed the kernel that installs with the base arch installation, just install:

pacman -S linux-headers

Skip to next section if the above works. In case you have changed the kernel, find your Linux version:

uname -r

And install the right linux headers from AUR. I recommend using pacaur. To install pacaur download and run a script (that I keep in my dotfiles) by:

pacman -S --noconfirm --needed curl
bash <(curl -sL

Search for linux-headers packages:

pacaur -Ss linux headers

Install the package that is meant for your linux version by:

pacaur -S <package name>

evdi kernel module

evdi package is a DKMS kernel module that enables management of multiple screens. evdi is a dependency of DisplayLink package. If you install DisplayLink it will automatically install evdi as a dependency but nothing would work! That’s because you need to install evdi-pre-release for the latest kernel (evdi aur comments). And since arch is a rolling release, you would most probably be on the latest kernel.

Install evdi-pre-release with pacaur -S evdi-pre-release. Right now the package seems to be broken as it gives an error, saying kernel needing to be configured. This is a bug, which has been fixed in upstream’s development branch but is not yet there in the aur package. So you need to modify the package to use the devel development branch and manually install the package. First step in manually installing a aur package is to git clone the aur package’s repo (repo = acronym for git repository) . The repo is given on the evdi-pre-release aur page. Lets clone it:

git clone

Change the PKGBUILD with nvim evdi-pre-release/PKGBUILD to:

# Maintainer: PlusMinus

pkgdesc="A Linux® kernel module that enables management of multiple screens."
arch=('i686' 'x86_64')

build() {
# We only need to build the library in this step, dkms will build the module
cd "$_libname-devel/library"


package() {
# Predfine some target folders
SRCDIR="$pkgdir/usr/src/$_libname-$pkgver"	# This one is needed for dkms

cd "$_libname-devel"

install -D -m 755 library/$ $pkgdir/usr/lib/$

install -d $SRCDIR
install -D -m 755 module/* $SRCDIR

Download the package, calculate its md5sum and put it in the PKGBUILD file above. To do all this you can run:

pacaur -S --noconfirm --needed wget

Find the text replace-with-md5sum in the PKGBUILD above and replace it with the md5sum calculate last command above. Now the evdi-pre-release/PKGBUILD file is ready. Lets build the package:

cd evdi-pre-release/
makepkg -sic

Check if it installed correctly. Run:

dkms status

it should include a line like this evdi, 1.4.1, 4.12.4-1-ARCH, x86_64: installed Here 1.4.1 is the evdi version, 4.12.4-1-ARCH is the kernel version. These numbers might be different for you. But if you find a link starting with evdi it means the module was installed successfully.

Next we need to install the displaylink package. Install it with pacaur -S displaylink. Unfortunately the displaylink package is also broken at the time of writing this. This is due to some web developer adding a terms and conditions page before letting us download the drivers. Luckily one of our fellow awesome arch user has fixed it and shared a repo. His fix would soon be in the aur. But right now lets clone the repo and build it manually:

git clone displaylink
cd displaylink
makepkg -sic

Once installed, we have to make sure we are using udl kernel module that manage displaylink driver, its a rewrite of the original udlfb, which the current driver use as a base. Activate udl kernel module, blacklist udlfb and start displaylink.service:

modprobe udl
nvim /etc/modprobe.d/noudlfb.conf


# Do not load the 'udlfb' module on boot. Using `udl`
blacklist udlfb

Configure modprobe to load udl on boot:

nvim /etc/modprobe.d/udl.conf


# Support multimonitor

enable and start the displaylink.service:

systemctl enable diplaylink.service
systemctl start diplaylink.service

Wait for 30 seconds the second monitor should become active (will show AOC splash)

Check xrandr output, it should show an DVI connected like mine shows:

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2966 x 900, maximum 8192 x 8192
eDP-1 connected primary 1366x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 277mm x 156mm
   1366x768      60.00*+  40.00  
   1024x768      60.04    60.00  
   960x720       60.00  
   928x696       60.05  
   896x672       60.01  
   800x600       60.00    60.32    56.25  
   700x525       59.98  
   640x512       60.02  
   640x480       60.00    59.94  
   512x384       60.00  
   400x300       60.32    56.34  
   320x240       60.05  
HDMI-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI-I-2-1 connected 1600x900+1366+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 382mm x 215mm
   1600x900      60.01*+
   1440x900      59.90  
   1280x800      59.91  
   1280x720      60.00  
   1024x768      60.00  
   800x600       60.32    56.25  
   848x480       60.00  
   640x480       59.94  
  1024x768 (0x79) 65.000MHz -HSync -VSync
        h: width  1024 start 1048 end 1184 total 1344 skew    0 clock  48.36KHz
        v: height  768 start  771 end  777 total  806           clock  60.00Hz
  800x600 (0x7e) 40.000MHz +HSync +VSync
        h: width   800 start  840 end  968 total 1056 skew    0 clock  37.88KHz
        v: height  600 start  601 end  605 total  628           clock  60.32Hz
  800x600 (0x7f) 36.000MHz +HSync +VSync
        h: width   800 start  824 end  896 total 1024 skew    0 clock  35.16KHz
        v: height  600 start  601 end  603 total  625           clock  56.25Hz
  640x480 (0x83) 25.175MHz -HSync -VSync
        h: width   640 start  656 end  752 total  800 skew    0 clock  31.47KHz
        v: height  480 start  490 end  492 total  525           clock  59.94Hz

Now you can configure the display your self using xrandr. But I recommend installing arandr. arandr is an awesome tool that lets you configure xrandr using a very simplistic gui. Install arandr with pacaur -S arandr and start it with arandr. Go to output menu, enable the second display, place it where ever you want and apply.

Intel screen freeze problem ;(

I wish that was the end of story but if you are unlucky like me and using an Intel gpu you will experience screen freeze. For me the screen only updated when I applied the settings in arandr. To fix it you need to install xf86-video-intel package with pacaur -S xf86-video-intel and create a configuration file with nvim /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf and write:

Section "Device"
  Identifier "Intel Graphics"
  Driver "Intel"
  Option "AccelMethod" "sna"
  Option "TearFree" "true"
  Option "TripleBuffer" "true"
  Option "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"
  Option "Tiling" "true"
  Option "Pageflip" "true"
  Option "ExaNoComposite" "false"
  Option "Tiling" "true"
  Option "Pageflip" "true"

Now if you run xrandr --listproviders. It would show 2 providers. Provider 0 would be Intel and provide 1 would be modesetting. Connect provider 1 to provider 0:

xrandr --setprovideroutputsource 1 0

Reboot now and the USB monitor should start working normally. Unfortunately screen rotation still doesn’t work. DisplayLink’s official site has a “Known issues with DisplayLink ubuntu support” page which says “Rotation is not supported due to missing functionality in the generic modesetting driver”. I did not try to get rotation working since this is good enough for me. Lack of rotation support is not a deal breaker ┐( ˘_˘ )┌. See the arch wiki page on DisplayLink for more details.

Check out my dotfiles for more awesome configurations :)