How to Install DisplayLink USB Video Adapter on Debian

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How to Install DisplayLink USB Video Adapter on Debian

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Setting up the USB to DVI Video Adapter on Debian Linux
  3. The Difference Between X11 and Wayland
  4. Downloading the Display Link Driver
  5. Installing the Display Link Driver
  6. Rebooting the System
  7. Using Multiple Monitors with USB Display Adapters
  8. Using Wayland vs X11
  9. Running a 3D Spectrum Analyzer on Linux
  10. Conclusion


In this article, we will discuss how to set up a USB to DVI video adapter on a laptop running Debian Linux. We will cover the steps to install the necessary drivers and configure the system to utilize the additional monitor. Additionally, we will explore the difference between X11 and Wayland and address any potential issues that may arise during the setup process.

Setting up the USB to DVI Video Adapter on Debian Linux

To begin, it is important to understand the process of setting up a USB to DVI video adapter on a Debian Linux laptop. This type of adapter allows you to connect an additional monitor to your laptop through a USB port and provides a DVI output. If you do not have a DVI to HDMI adapter, you can also use a straight-up DVI to HDMI cable. However, in this Tutorial, we will be using an adapter.

Before proceeding, note that by default, Debian uses Wayland as the default windows system. However, if you have installed Nvidia drivers for 3D graphics, X11 may be in use instead. This distinction is important because certain screen capture programs, like Simple Screen Recorder, may only work in X11.

To check which type of display system your laptop is using, open a terminal and enter the following command:


If the output is "x11," it means your laptop is using X11. For our purposes, Wayland is required. Therefore, ensure that your laptop is using Wayland before proceeding.

The Difference Between X11 and Wayland

X11 and Wayland are two different display systems used by Linux-based operating systems. X11, also known as the X Window System, has long been the standard display protocol for Unix-like systems. Wayland, on the other HAND, is a newer protocol that aims to replace X11.

The main difference between the two lies in their architecture. X11 uses a client-server model, where applications (clients) communicate with the X server to display graphics. Wayland, on the other hand, simplifies this model by eliminating the need for a separate server. Instead, the compositor handles the graphics rendering, resulting in better performance and security.

While X11 has been widely used and is compatible with many applications, Wayland offers a more modern and streamlined approach to graphics display. However, it is important to note that not all applications and drivers are fully compatible with Wayland yet. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your setup is compatible before proceeding.

Downloading the Display Link Driver

To set up the USB to DVI video adapter, we will need to download the Display Link driver. Display Link provides drivers for various operating systems, including Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. Start by visiting the Display Link website and navigate to the Ubuntu driver section.

Once you have located the driver, download it to your system. Keep in mind that the latest version may not always be the most compatible one. If you encounter any issues, it is recommended to try an older release.

Installing the Display Link Driver

After downloading the Display Link driver, it is time to install it. Open a terminal and navigate to the directory where the driver Package is located. Unzip the package and ensure that the "run" file is executable. If it is not, use the following command to make it executable:

chmod +x run

Next, run the driver installation script with sudo privileges using the following command:

sudo ./run

During the installation process, the script may Prompt you to install additional packages or dependencies. Follow the instructions on the screen and provide the necessary permissions to proceed. It is important to read any log messages carefully to ensure the success of the installation.

Rebooting the System

After successful installation, it is recommended to reboot your system. This step ensures that the necessary changes take effect and allows the system to detect and configure the USB to DVI video adapter properly.

Before rebooting, it is essential to unplug the video adapter if it is currently connected to your laptop. Failure to do so may result in issues during the reboot process. Once the system has rebooted, plug in the video adapter and observe its behavior.

If the driver was installed correctly, the additional monitor should be detected by the system. You can verify this by moving your mouse to the right side of the screen and checking if it appears on the additional monitor.

Using Multiple Monitors with USB Display Adapters

Now that the USB to DVI video adapter is set up, you can connect and utilize multiple monitors on your laptop. Connect the additional monitors to the USB port using the USB display adapters. Depending on your setup, you may need to use a USB hub if you want to connect more than one additional monitor.

Once connected, the system should automatically detect the additional monitors. You can configure their positioning and orientation through the display settings in your Linux distribution.

It is important to note that the performance of the additional monitors may vary depending on the graphics capabilities of your laptop and the number of applications running. Heavy usage or high-resolution displays may require more resources and can impact the overall performance.

Using Wayland vs X11

As discussed earlier, when using USB display adapters in Linux, it is crucial to ensure that your system is running on Wayland instead of X11. Wayland offers better compatibility and performance for newer hardware and applications that support it.

To switch between Wayland and X11, you can do so during the login process. After entering your username, you will see a session selection option. If you want to use Wayland, select the default option. If you prefer X11, choose the appropriate option from the session selection menu.

It is worth mentioning that certain applications and drivers may not work as expected under X11. Therefore, it is generally recommended to use Wayland, especially if you are using newer hardware or software.

Running a 3D Spectrum Analyzer on Linux

Apart from setting up USB display adapters, you can utilize the additional monitors for various tasks. If you are a programmer or an enthusiast, you can use multiple monitors to optimize your workflow. For example, you can run a 3D spectrum analyzer using the YSPY hardware, programming it in C on Linux with OpenGL for the 3D graphics.

To set up this type of environment, you can use Wireshark to monitor the USB port and analyze the USB traffic as you program. Additionally, you can open your code window in one monitor, a console in another monitor for compiling and running the program, and a web browser for reference in a third monitor.

By separating your workspace across multiple monitors, you can have a more organized and efficient workflow. This setup is beneficial for tasks that require multitasking and extensive screen real estate.


Setting up a USB to DVI video adapter on a laptop running Debian Linux can enhance your productivity by allowing you to connect additional monitors. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to successfully set up and configure your USB display adapter, taking advantage of the extra screen real estate.

It is important to choose the appropriate display system, Wayland or X11, depending on your requirements and compatibility. Additionally, utilizing multiple monitors can provide a significant boost in your workflow, especially for tasks that require multitasking or extensive screen space.

Now that you have the knowledge and tools, you can explore new possibilities and enjoy the benefits of a multi-monitor setup on your Debian Linux laptop.

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