Install Bumblebee in Ubuntu 12.10/12.04 using PPA

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Bumblebee aims to provide support for NVIDIA Optimus laptops for GNU/Linux distributions. Using Bumblebee, you can use your NVIDIA card for rendering graphics which will be displayed using the Intel card.

A primary goal of this project is to not only enable use of the discrete GPU for rendering, but also to enable smart power management of the dGPU when it's not in use. We're using either bbswitch (a module) or vga_switcheroo (kernel module, experimental) to do this in Bumblebee.

What is NVIDIA Optimus

NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology intelligently optimizes your notebook PC, providing the outstanding graphics performance you need, when you need it, all the while extending battery life for longer enjoyment.

Key Benefits:

Optimus technology is completely automatic allowing you to experience longer battery life and amazing visuals without having to manually change settings.

Behind the scenes and with no interference to what you're doing, Optimus seamlessly figures out how to best optimize your notebook computing experience.

NVIDIA graphics you've come to expect, with more than 10x better performance¹ with NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology, allowing you to enjoy your applications and games without interruption or worry.

Install Bumblebee in Ubuntu 12.10/12.04

Open the terminal and run the following commands

You need to open your terminal and enter the commands below.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

For more up-to-date nvidia drivers, you need to add another PPA. As of 12.04, this is still necessary for Nvidia GT 6xxM cards. It may be optional for the GT 4xxM and GT 5xxM series on 12.04. When in doubt, just install it. The command is:

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

sudo apt-get update

Install Bumblebee using the proprietary nvidia driver:

sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia linux-headers-generic

Reboot or re-login

For advanced users, if you do not want to use the proprietary nvidia driver or 32-bit libraries (for example, if you are only interested in power savings), install bumblebee with:

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends bumblebee linux-headers-generic

linux-headers-generic is necessary since bbswitch (the power saving module) is a kernel module.


To run your application with the discrete NVIDIA card run in the terminal:

$ optirun [options] [application-parameters]


$ optirun firefox

For a list of options for optirun run:

$ optirun --help

Normally you do not use optirun for your window manager, installations or other non graphic heavy demanding programs. The optirun command is mainly used for graphic demanding programs or for games.

Uninstall Bumblebee

If you're unsatisfied with Bumblebee, you can remove it via:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge

sudo ppa-purge ppa:bumblebee/stable

If you want to keep some programs from the bumblebee repository, you can also suffice by removing Bumblebee only (including its dependencies):

sudo apt-get purge bumblebee

sudo apt-get --purge autoremove

How to install Primus for Bumblebee in Ubuntu 12.10/12.04

Open the terminal and run the following commands

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zhurikhin/primus
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install primus

Using Primus

$ primus [options] [application-parameters]


$ primus firefox

For a list of options for primus run:

$ primus --help

Via Ubuntuwiki

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