Difference between revisions of "Bumblebee"

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m (Installing Bumblebee with Intel / nvidia)
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* {{Pkg|mesa}} Mesa 3-D graphics libraries
* {{Pkg|mesa}} Mesa 3-D graphics libraries
Now Install {{AUR|bumblebee}} or {{AUR|bumblebee-systemd}} from [[Arch User Repository|AUR]]:
Now Install {{AUR|bumblebee}} from [[Arch User Repository|AUR]]:
{{note|If you like bumblebee to turn off the NVIDIA card automatically after usage, use {{AUR|bbswitch}} from AUR. See [[#Power Management|below]].}}
{{note|If you like bumblebee to turn off the NVIDIA card automatically after usage, use {{AUR|bbswitch}} from AUR. See [[#Power Management|below]].}}

Revision as of 21:38, 25 October 2012

zh-CN:Bumblebee From Bumblebee's FAQ:

Bumblebee is an effort to make NVIDIA Optimus enabled laptops work in GNU/Linux systems. Such feature involves two graphics cards with two different power consumption profiles plugged in a layered way sharing a single framebuffer.

Bumblebee: Optimus for Linux

Optimus Technology is an hybrid graphics implementation without a hardware multiplexer. The integrated GPU manages the display while the dedicated GPU manages the most demanding rendering and ships the work to the integrated GPU to be displayed. When the laptop is running on battery supply, the dedicated GPU is turned off to save power and prolong the battery life.

Bumblebee is a software implementation based on VirtualGL and a kernel driver to be able to use the dedicated GPU, which is not physically connected to the screen.

Bumblebee tries to mimic the Optimus technology behavior; using the dedicated GPU for rendering when needed and power it down when not in use. The present releases only support rendering on-demand, power-management is a work in progress.

The NVIDIA dedicated card is managed as a separate X server connected to a "fake" screen (the screen is configured but not used). The second server is called using VirtualGL as if it were a remote server. That said, you will need a series of steps to set-up the kernel driver, the X server and a daemon.

Warning: Bumblebee is still under heavy development! But your help is very welcome.


Before installing Bumblebee check your BIOS and activate Optimus (shareable graphics), if possible (BIOS doesn't have to provide this option), and install the intel driver for the secondary on board graphics card.

Note: If you want to run a 32-bit application on a 64-bit system you must install lib32-virtualglAUR and proper lib32-* libraries.

Installing Bumblebee with Intel / nvidia

Note: If you want to run 32-bit applications (like games with wine) on a 64-bit system you need the lib32-nvidia-utils-bumblebeeAUR from AUR additionally.
Warning: Don't install the original nvidia-utils with Bumblebee - it will break your system !
Note: It makes it possible to avoid installing nvidia-utils as a dependency when installing the nvidia driver.
Note: If you'd like bumblebee to turn off the NVIDIA card automatically after usage, use bbswitchAUR from AUR. See below.

Installing Bumblebee with Intel / nouveau

Install nouveau and required packages first:

# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau nouveau-dri mesa

Now Install bumblebeeAUR from AUR:

Note: If you like bumblebee to turn off the NVIDIA card automatically after usage, use bbswitchAUR from AUR. See below.

Start Bumblebee

In order to use Bumblebee it is necessary add yourself (and other users) to the bumblebee group:

# usermod -a -G bumblebee $USER

where $USER is the login name of the user to be added. Then log off and on again to apply the group changes.

To start bumblebee automatically at startup, enable bumblebeed service:

# systemctl enable bumblebeed.service

Finished - reboot system and use the shell program optirun for Optimus NVIDIA rendering!


The command line programm optirun shipped with bumblebee is your best friend for running applications on your Optimus NVIDIA card.

Test Bumblebee if it works with your Optimus system:

$ optirun glxgears

If it succeeds and the terminal you are running from mentions something about your NVIDIA - Optimus with Bumblebee is working!

General Usage:

$ optirun [options] <application> [application-parameters]

Some Examples:

Start Firefox accelerated with Optimus:

$ optirun firefox

Start Windows applications with Optimus:

$ optirun wine <windows application>.exe

Use NVIDIA Settings with Optimus:

$ optirun nvidia-settings -c :8 

For a list of options for optirun run:

$ optirun --help


You can configure the behaviour of Bumblebee to fit your needs. Fine tuning like speed optimization, power managment and other stuff can be configured in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf

Optimizing Speed

Bumblebee renders frames for your Optimus NVIDIA card in an invisible X Server with VirtualGL and transports them back to your visible X Server.

Frames will be compressed before they are transported - this saves bandwith and can be used for speedup optimization of bumblebee:

To use an other compression method for a single application:

$ optirun -c <compress-method> application

The method of compres will affect performance in the GPU/GPU usage. Compressed methods (such as jpeg) will load the CPU the most but will load GPU the minimum necessary; uncompressed methods loads the most on GPU and the CPU will have the minimum load possible.

Compressed Methods are: jpeg, rgb, yuv

Uncompressed Methods are: proxy, xv

To use a standard compression for all applications set the VGLTransport to <compress-method> in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf


You can also play with the way VirtualGL reads back the pixels from your graphic card. Setting VGL_READBACK environment variable to pbo should increase the performance. Compare these two:

# PBO should be faster.
VGL_READBACK=pbo optirun glxspheres
# The default value is sync.
VGL_READBACK=sync optirun glxspheres
Note: CPU frequency scaling will affect directly on render performance

Power Management

The goal of power management feature is to turnoff the NVIDIA card when it is not used by bumblebee anymore.

To enable power managment for bumblebee install bbswitchAUR from AUR.

Warning: Make sure the secondary Xorg server is stopped when not in use !

Set the PMMethod to bbswitch in the driver section of /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf:


Default power state of NVIDIA card

Set load_state and unload_state module options according to your needs (see bbswitch documentation).

options bbswitch load_state=0 unload_state=0

Just restart bumblebee daemon to activate power managment:

# systemctl restart bumblebeed.service

Enable NVIDIA card during shutdown

The NVIDIA card may not correctly initialize during boot if the card was powered off when the system was last shutdown. One option is to set TurnCardOffAtExit=false in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf, however this will enable the card everytime you stop the Bumblebee daemon, even if done manually. To ensure that the NVIDIA card is always powered on during shutdown, add the following hook function (if using bbswitchAUR):

nvidia_card_enable() {

  stat_busy "Enabling NVIDIA GPU"

  if [ -w ${BBSWITCH} ]; then
    echo ON > ${BBSWITCH}

add_hook shutdown_poweroff nvidia_card_enable

Multiple monitors

Note: This configuration is only valid for laptops, where the extra output is hardwired to the intel card. Unfortunately this is not the case for some (or most?) laptops, where, lets say, the HDMI output is hardwired to the NVIDIA card. In that case there is no such an ideal solution, as shown here. But you can make your extra output at least usable with the instructions on the bumblebee wiki page.

You can set up multiple monitors with xorg.conf. Set them to use the Intel card, but Bumblebee can still use the NVIDIA card. One example configuration is below for two identical screens with 1080p resolution and using the HDMI out.

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "intelgpu0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth          24
        Modes          "1980x1080_60.00"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "intelgpu1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth   24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth          24
        Modes          "1980x1080_60.00"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    Option         "Enable" "true"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor1"
    Option         "Enable" "true"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "intelgpu0"
    Driver         "intel"
    Option         "XvMC" "true"
    Option         "UseEvents" "true"
    Option         "AccelMethod" "UXA"
    BusID          "PCI:0:2:0"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "intelgpu1"
    Driver         "intel"
    Option         "XvMC" "true"
    Option         "UseEvents" "true"
    Option         "AccelMethod" "UXA"
    BusID          "PCI:0:2:0"

You need to probably change the BusID:

$ lspci | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)

The BusID is 0:2:0

CUDA Without Bumblebee

This is not well documented, but you do not need Bumblebee to use CUDA and it may work even on machines where optirun fails. For a guide on how to get it working with the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (which uses the GeForce 660M), see: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lenovo_IdeaPad_Y580#NVIDIA_Card. Those instructions are very likely to work with other machines (except for the acpi-handle-hack part, which may not be necessary).


Note: Please report bugs at Bumblebee-Project's GitHub tracker as described in its Wiki.

[VGL] ERROR: Could not open display :8

There is a known problem with some wine applications that fork and kill the parent process without keeping track of it (for example the free to play online game "Runes of Magic")

A workaround for this problem is:

$ optirun bash
$ optirun wine <windows program>.exe

If using NVIDA drivers a fix for this problem is to edit /etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidia and change Option ConnectedMonitor to CRT-0.

[ERROR]Cannot access secondary GPU

No devices detected.

In some instances, running optirun will return:

[ERROR]Cannot access secondary GPU - error: [XORG] (EE) No devices detected.
[ERROR]Aborting because fallback start is disabled.

In this case, you will need to move the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf to somewhere else. Restart the bumblebeed daemon, and it should work.

It could be also necessary to comment the driver line in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-monitor.conf.

If you're using the nouveau driver you could try switching to the nVidia driver.

NVIDIA(0): Failed to assign any connected display devices to X screen 0

If the console output is:

[ERROR]Cannot access secondary GPU - error: [XORG] (EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to assign any connected display devices to X screen 0
[ERROR]Aborting because fallback start is disabled.

You can change this line in /etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.nvidia:

Option "ConnectedMonitor" "DFP"


Option "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT"

Fatal IO error 11 (Resource temporarily unavailable) on X server

Change KeepUnusedXServer in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf from false to true. Your program forks into background and bumblebee don't know anything about it.

Video tearing

Video tearing is a somewhat common problem on Bumblebee. To fix it, you need to enable vsync. It should be enabled by default on the Intel card, but verify that from Xorg logs. To check whether or not it is enabled for nvidia, run

$ optirun nvidia-settings -c :8 

X Server XVideo Settings -> Sync to VBlank and OpenGL Settings -> Sync to VBlank should both be enabled. The Intel card has in general less tearing, so use it for video playback. Especially use VA-API for video decoding (e.g. mplayer-vaapi and with -vsync parameter).

Refer to the Intel article on how to fix tearing on the Intel card.

If it is still not fixed, try to disable compositing from your desktop environment. Try also disabling triple buffering.

It tells you you're not in the group, but you are

First, check that you are actually in the group; groups. If you aren't in the group add yourself(as above) and login and logout, try again.

Otherwise removing /var/run/bumblebeed.socket might help.(forum thread)

Important Links

Join us at #bumblebee at freenode.net