txt.si/blog

Nvidia Optimus on linux

Content on this page is probably outdated and represents my personal knowledge, feelings and understading of things at that time .

Recently my friend got a Nvidia Optimus enabled laptop and because he’s a avid Linux user, we wanted to setup a Linux system on the machine.
First, I have done some research on the web and found out that we should be using vga_switcheroo to switch, and some glued together scripts.
First we tried Ubuntu (with nvidia drivers) but vga_switcheroo was not showing up, after some reinstalls and even a kernel compile - we gave up and installed Fedora.
Fedora comes with nouveau open source nvidia 3D drivers, and we concluded we can try with them insted of the binary nvidia drivers. vga_switcheroo seemed to work and we were able to switch the nvidia graphic card on and of, but we couldn’t switch to it. Later we discovered that the integrated Intel graphic card refuses to shut down, and therefore we added some gluing to the switch code that forced the nvidia driver on the Xorg (previously, we ran configless X), after some fiddling with the permissions the script worked… but the nouveau drivers do not support his nvidia card.
Pity, but it looks like we need to wait for the official Optimus support or lend our hands to nouveau. It’s really sad to see a configuration that doesen’t work with linux - but that’s the sad world of Linux graphic stacks.

Some useful links:
http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.com/
http://asusm51ta-with-linux.blogspot.com/