Nvidia Optimus support now built-in on Debian testing

I was very surprised to see that Bumblebee (a way to use Nvidia’s Optimus technology on GNU/Linux) now works flawlessly on GNU/Linux. The Debian guys somehow managed to get all the fiddly components talking to each other, and this shit works flawlessly. You’ll need jessie (the current testing release).

It’s as easy as:

apt-get install bumblebee nvidia-kernel-dkms glx-alternative-nvidia nvidia-glx

After that, I just had to do:

update-alternatives --config glx

To select my old Mesa GLX so that by default, it would use the built-in Intel graphics card even for 3D stuff. Finally there’s this handy hint from the GNU/Linux devs at Valve.

Now it’s easy to play graphics-intensive games through the Nvidia card and everything else through the Intel card. It feels even more solid than with the proprietary drivers on Windows.

And as the Free Software Nvidia driver (Nouveau) improves, Bumblebee has full support for switching from this to the proprietary driver and back.

I never bothered to try Bumblebee in the past, but the way that Debian packages it today, it’s fantastic. Thanks a lot, Debian, once again, for creating one of the world’s most flexible universal operating systems.

0 thoughts on “Nvidia Optimus support now built-in on Debian testing”

  1. This doesn’t seem to work for me at all. I’m running jessie and installed the packages you list. However, although both glx-alternative-{mesa,nvidia} are installed, he tells me that only /usr/lib/nvidia is available when trying to list/change the glx alternative. It seems he doesn’t even use the correct driver as I cannot connect additional screens or run glxgears (which is my favourite quick-and-dirty-test). If I switch the BIOS setting to Nvidia Optimus, that is. If the BIOS setting is set to “Discrete”, the driver appears to work fine.

    Any idea what I did wrong?

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