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Why Bumblebee Doesn’t Work on Ubuntu 18.04

Ubuntu 6

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why Bumblebee, a tool designed to manage Nvidia Optimus graphics on Linux systems, may not function as expected on Ubuntu 18.04. We’ll also explore potential solutions to these issues.

Quick Answer

Bumblebee may not work on Ubuntu 18.04 due to compatibility issues with the Nvidia driver and a lack of updates for Bumblebee itself. However, there are potential solutions such as updating the /etc/environment file, modifying the Bumblebee configuration file, disabling the nvidia-drm module, and disabling certain services. It’s important to note that these are workarounds, and an update to Bumblebee would be the ideal solution for full compatibility with Ubuntu 18.04.

Understanding Bumblebee and Nvidia Optimus

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to understand what Bumblebee and Nvidia Optimus are and why they are essential for certain Linux users. Nvidia Optimus is a computer GPU switching technology created by Nvidia which, depending on the resource load generated by client software applications, will seamlessly switch between two graphics adapters within a computer system in order to provide either maximum performance or minimum power draw.

Bumblebee, on the other hand, is a project that 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.

The Problem with Bumblebee on Ubuntu 18.04

Bumblebee has not been updated since Ubuntu 14.04, and Nvidia’s driver support for Linux can be problematic for Optimus users. This lack of updates can lead to compatibility issues with newer versions of Ubuntu, including 18.04.

Potential Solutions

Updating the /etc/environment File

One possible solution is to disable the glvnd behavior in the Nvidia driver. This can be done by adding a line to the /etc/environment file. The line to be added is __GLVND_DISALLOW_PATCHING=1. This line tells the system to disable the glvnd patching feature of the Nvidia driver.

Modifying the Bumblebee Configuration File

The configuration file for Bumblebee (/etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf) should be updated to reflect the new directory structure of the Nvidia driver. Specifically, the LibraryPath and XorgModulePath lines should be updated to point to the new locations.

Dealing with the nvidia-drm Module

Another issue can be caused by the nvidia-drm module. This module can be disabled by aliasing it to “off” in the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nvidia.conf file. This will prevent the module from being loaded, which can help to resolve some issues with Bumblebee.

Disabling the gpu-manager and nvidia-persistenced Services

In some cases, it may be necessary to disable the gpu-manager and nvidia-persistenced services. These services can interfere with Bumblebee and cause it to not function correctly.

Conclusion

While Bumblebee can be a useful tool for managing Nvidia Optimus graphics on Linux, it can encounter issues on Ubuntu 18.04 due to a lack of updates and changes in the Nvidia driver. By following the steps outlined in this article, you may be able to resolve these issues and get Bumblebee working on your system. However, it’s important to remember that these are workarounds, and the best solution would be for Bumblebee to receive an update to ensure compatibility with newer versions of Ubuntu.

What is Nvidia Optimus?

Nvidia Optimus is a technology developed by Nvidia that allows for seamless switching between two graphics adapters in a computer system, depending on the resource load generated by software applications. It provides either maximum performance or minimum power draw, depending on the user’s needs.

What is Bumblebee?

Bumblebee is a project aimed at providing support for Nvidia Optimus laptops on GNU/Linux distributions. It allows users to utilize their Nvidia graphics card for rendering graphics, which are then displayed using the Intel card.

Why doesn’t Bumblebee work on Ubuntu 18.04?

Bumblebee has not been updated since Ubuntu 14.04, and Nvidia’s driver support for Linux can be problematic for Optimus users. This lack of updates can lead to compatibility issues with newer versions of Ubuntu, including 18.04.

How can I disable the glvnd behavior in the Nvidia driver?

To disable the glvnd behavior in the Nvidia driver, you can add the line __GLVND_DISALLOW_PATCHING=1 to the /etc/environment file.

How do I update the Bumblebee configuration file?

To update the Bumblebee configuration file (/etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf), you should modify the LibraryPath and XorgModulePath lines to reflect the new directory structure of the Nvidia driver.

How can I disable the `nvidia-drm` module?

To disable the nvidia-drm module, you can alias it to "off" in the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nvidia.conf file. This will prevent the module from being loaded, which can help resolve some issues with Bumblebee.

What services should I disable to ensure Bumblebee works correctly?

In some cases, it may be necessary to disable the gpu-manager and nvidia-persistenced services. These services can interfere with Bumblebee and cause it to not function correctly.

Are the solutions mentioned in this article permanent fixes?

The solutions mentioned in this article are workarounds to address the compatibility issues with Bumblebee on Ubuntu 18.04. They may resolve the issues temporarily, but the best solution would be for Bumblebee to receive an update to ensure compatibility with newer versions of Ubuntu.

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