View Full Version : Nvidia optimus in fedora 16

07-01-12, 01:29
Ive been trying to get linux onto my laptop, first tried ubuntu which didnt work, not sure why I just couldnt get onto the desktop on the live cd (until I used reduced graphic mode or something) and couldnt install it (not that I particularly like it so not too bothered). Then went back to Fedora (I think fedora core 5 or 6 was the last time I used linux), and after a few hiccups managed to get it installed and working (whoever says linux 'just works out the box' is wrong. End of.).
I seem to be having big problems with the graphics, screen resolutions stuck low and trying to put on the proprietary drivers results in not booting up after a restart. Apparently this has something to do with the optimus technology. Theres supposed to be a workaround called bumblebee but its not on fedora yet, and I think it needs to be turned on and off or something. Any one know how it works?
Any other recommended distros to try? Im dual booting with windows (linux is on the external and only loads up when plugged in) and would preferably like the 580m to do its job.
Its been a long day :yawn:

08-01-12, 12:57
I wonder HOW you tried to boot Ubuntu? Did you boot straight from the live CD, or did you start Windows and then insert the live-CD? The latter is never good practice and would have been the problem. Dual boot from an external drive (any distro) is, to say the least problematical - and no version of Linux is going to enable this 'out of the box'. Sorry, but the real bogey here is not Linux, but a certain other OS. If you were to do a clean install of a Linux distro onto your hard drive, you would have a very different experience. Having said that, you say nothing about the hardware on your laptop. Nvidia is well supported from Ubuntu, but needs proprietary drivers. Some Linux distros refuse to supply proprietary drivers and therefore make you get stuff from the chipset manufacturer. This is not always easy unless you are very geeky.

What this really boils down to is Why? What do you need to do with Windows? What would you like to do with Linux? Why are you going for multilple operating systems when Windows does its best not to allow them?

My suggestion: rig up a spare desktop and try Ubuntu only on it. Get to know it and do as much as you can on it. Most people (other than serious gamers) wonder why they continued with Windows for so long.

08-01-12, 20:31
Serious (well, slightly) gamer, thats what I really got the laptop for (latptop hardware is at the bottom of my post by the way). And unfortunatly space and job doesnt permit a desktop or even that much time to use it. I tried every method of getting ubuntu to work that I could think of, in and out of windows, external and internal. Its not the dual booting thats the problem, its the newer hardware not working correctly with linux. I think I got onto the live cd using the reduced graphics option (cant really remember now, might have been fedora). I used to use linux quite a bit and prefer it to windows, but unfortunatly windows has its uses and isnt something I want to get rid of. Also had a little more of a search and apparently bumblebee is working in fedora but I had other problems with the graphics card. Also tried opensuse but that kept hanging on install and I ran out of time and patience unfortunatly. Im just going to wait until theres a proper solution rather than trying to find a million ways around it.

EDIT: And ive just found out from another question I was asking about this optimus technology that the vortex II's dont actually support graphics changing, which could be a bonus....hmm.....Blow, just remembered I left all the linux dvds I burned back home, thats them gone until Easter leave. I guess its still a start to finding out what exactly the problem is though.

08-01-12, 21:56
Ah well ... Sorry I missed the spec at the bottom of your post. You might well find that by Easter, an alpha or even beta release of a distro will have support for your hardware .... who knows? The current alpha of Ubuntu 12.04 looks really promising (bugs apart). It gets released in April (hence the .04). Might be worth a look. I'm afraid laptops currently take a bit of keeping up with, and Linux releases only cope with some of them. When you get around to it, it might be possible to get some clues by booting live-cds with the command screen showing. Most let you do this. Ubuntu lets you do a number of things if you get the grub screen up at the beginning of the boot process, and you can do ctrl+alt+F2 afterwards and get a command screen. You'll possibly find it's lack of hardware support in the kernels you had access to. For my part, laptops with the really high spec you have are out of the question. I use a good spec PCS desktop, and a much lower spec netbook for travel. Keep us posted.

15-01-12, 11:04
Well I gave it another go and managed to get fedora 16 working. I needed to install it using the reduced graphics option as the normal installation choice was getting stuck. After I updated the kernel and installed the proprietary nvidia drivers, it didnt boot up the desktop like last time, restarted it and used the older kernel, next day booted up the newer kernel again and it was working fine...go figure. Anyways, fedora 16 works ok. Didnt try ubuntu or opensuse again (and Im not going to!).
I took out the internal hdd and replaced it with my older one, installed linux onto there, then removed that and put it back in the external case and the windows hdd back in the laptop. So boots up windows as normal for games, plug in the external hdd and linux boots.

15-01-12, 20:04
Currently running Fedora 16 on my Optimus 17.3 with GT555M. Install was fine straight off (64 bit) and is working with nouveau drivers. Have been keeping up with the Bumblebee Project, (aims to give Optimus software on linux), and supposedly there should be a Beta release of a Fedora RPM within the next few weeks. How realistic that time scale is I'm not too sure, but from a personal point of view, I intend to keep this laptop for a number of years, so waiting a few more weeks for the software isn't an issue.
This laptop still blows away my old one so well worth it!

Will probably post up here to let others know when a Fedora release is made.

15-01-12, 21:55
Apparently it already works with fedora, you might need to compile and build it yourself though, cant remember properly, have a search on the fedora forums. Luckily for me apparently the vortexII doesnt need it.

15-01-12, 23:08
Yeah, I did make an attempt to do it following some instructions I found on one of the forums but found it failed to boot afterwards. Like I say not in a rush so may try and wait for the RPMs! (Also because despite being able to use the command line to some degree, I'm still a bit of a noob when it comes to compiling by hand!)