Installing Bumblebee 3.0 (Tumbleweed) on Ubuntu

A lot of people have been trying to access this guide which was posted on the old site before we updated it with a new look, and a speedy new host. So here it is, enjoy.

Today I had a go of installing the new Bumblebee 3.0 (tumbleweed) release. From what I have seen this is by far the easiest and most stable method of getting Nvidia Optimus running in Linux with power management support.

The new bbswitch method to turn the card on/off saving huge amounts of precious battery life and solving a lot of problems people were having with the old ACPI call method, it’s probably one of the best features of this release.

Before we get in to installing Bumblebee run this command to monitor your laptops power usage (with the cable unplugged), take note of the current ‘mA’.

watch grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state

Doing this means you can also make sure your card is being turned off by comparing your power consumption before and after the install. You should be able to notice a significant reduction in power usage after completing this tutorial.

Bumblebee battery life power saving

This is mine after installing Bumblebee.

1. Right lets get started by installing the latest graphics drivers (this is optional but recommended):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

3. Install and configure bumblebee:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bumblebee

Your laptop will now be configured for ‘Optimus’. To double check your Nvidia card is working correctly you can run:

optirun glxspheres

Bumblebee optirun running GLX with nvidia optimus
If you want to use the Nvidia chip for any program simply type ‘optirun’ before it. For example if you wanted to open firefox to run with your Nvidia chip you would use:

optirun firefox

Bumblebee github: https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/Bumblebee

Bumblebee wiki: https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/Bumblebee/wiki/FAQ

  • http://lekensteyn.nl Lekensteyn

    Actually, the `usermod` part is not necessary anymore for new installations since version 3.0-2. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee#Installation

  • Savage

    Thank you Lekensteyn, I didn’t think it was necessary but It’s been a while since I installed Bumblebee so I left it in just incase. I’ve updated the post now.

  • Rodrigo

    With todays nvidia xorg update bumblee stopped working.
    I fixed it by edditing /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf file and changing the following lines:

    # The Driver used by Bumblebee server. If this value is not set (or empty),
    # auto-detection is performed. The available drivers are nvidia and nouveau
    # (See also the driver-specific sections below)
    Driver=nvidia

    And

    # Module name to load, defaults to Driver if empty or unset
    KernelDriver=nvidia

    I hope it helps!
    Cheers!