Bumblebee - Nvidia Optimus support

Last update on April 27, 2014.

Bumblebee - Nvidia Optimus support

Bumblebee setup guide (Nvidia Optimus support)

Credit: This guide was written by Alex Temchenko, thanks Alex, i hope this helps people get there Optimus graphics working. Please give feedback on the Kwheezy forums, and thank Alex if this guide helped you get it working.


a) about
b) bumblebee on kwheezy
c) useful links

a) about

this guide describes how to install and test Bumblebee with proprietary Nvidia drivers (thereafter "bumblebee") in KWheezy 1.5 64bit (kwheezy-1.5-64bit.iso) on computers with Nvidia Optimus video card.

it was written after applying the SolydXK Bumblebee installation tutorial


on KWheezy and adapting it to the stable debian branch.

b) bumblebee on kwheezy

01. default kwheezy 1.5 repositories can't be used for a direct bumblebee installation.  none of the required packages are there:

 - bumblebee-nvidia
 - primus
 - primus-libs:i386

it perfectly corresponds to what the debian bumblebee wiki page ( https://wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee#Installation ) says:

For Wheezy users, Bumblebee packages are available from wheezy-backports ( https://www.backports.debian.org/Instructions ). Follow the steps listed on that page to add backports to your sources.list (but make sure that you also add wheezy-backports' contrib repository as well to your sources.list, e.g. deb https://www.YOURMIRROR.debian.org/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free), and then install bumblebee or bumblebee-nvidia, and primus.

02. bumblebee packages are found in the wheezy-backports repo.  add it to default kwheezy repos.

living currently in italy, i added an italian wheezy-backports mirror directly to /etc/apt/sources.list:


...default kwheezy repos...
deb https://www.ftp.it.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main contrib non-free


the entire /etc/apt/sources.list becomes:


deb https://www.ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src https://www.ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

deb https://www.security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src https://www.security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free

deb https://www.packages.kwheezy.com/debian/ wheezy main

#--just added
deb https://www.ftp.it.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main contrib non-free


a brief note about the wheezy-backports repo.  it contains pepperflash plugin for chromium browser.  pepperflash is not found in default kwheezy repos.  if you want to use it, install it from here.

03. on kwheezy the standard user is not included in the sudoers group by default, so all commands, except the last one, are executed by the root user.

04. after adding wheezy-backports, update repos:

# apt-get update

05. install all bumblebee-related packages:

# dpkg --add-architecture i386 && apt-get update && apt-get -t wheezy-backports install bumblebee-nvidia primus primus-libs:i386

the above command slightly differs from usual apt-get install syntax.  as backports wiki https://www.backports.debian.org/Instructions/ explains, backported packages are pinned at 100 and can be installed with:

apt-get -t squeeze-backports install "package"

06. differently from SolydXK and LMDE, no terminal popup window will appear.

07. video group already exists.  bunblebee group was created automatically.  check both:

# groupadd bumblebee
groupadd: group 'bumblebee' already exists

# groupadd video
groupadd: group 'video' already exists

08. add the standard user(s) to both groups.  don't use $USER - it will add root.  use the explicit username(s):

# usermod -a -G bumblebee,video just

where just is my username.  use yours instead.

09. reboot computer.  a simple X server restart is not enough.

10. installation is done.  what follows are the checks of a correct installation.

check that the bumblebeed daemon (system service) has been defined - its script must exist in the /etc/init.d:

# ls /etc/init.d/*bumblebeed* -Rl
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4542 Jul 16  2013 /etc/init.d/bumblebeed

ok, the script exists.

11. check that bumblebeed daemon is enabled in various run levels - its init script, if enabled, must be symlinked in various /etc/rc*.d:

# ls /etc/rc*.d/*bumblebeed* -Rl
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc0.d/K01bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc1.d/K01bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc2.d/S22bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc3.d/S22bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc4.d/S22bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc5.d/S22bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Mar 26 18:46 /etc/rc6.d/K01bumblebeed -> ../init.d/bumblebeed

ok, the daemon is enabled on all run levels.

12. check the bumblebeed daemon status - it must be running:

# service bumblebeed status
[ ok ] bumblebeed is running.

13. finally, a brief application check.  differently from SolydXK and LMDE, it must NOT fail on first run:

$ optirun pwd

after a short delay (for switching gpu from intel to nvidia) the command prints current working directory.  hence, optirun runs well.  hence, bumblebee is installed successfully.

14. optional: install glxspheres and run more bumblebee tests as described in:


15. optional: disable the "deb https://www.ftp.it.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main contrib non-free" repo

16. done.

c) useful links

- bumblebee installation on SolydXK:

- checking the bumblebee installation:

- getting and installing glxspheres:

- debian bumblebee wiki:

- debian backports wiki:

- debian mirrors wiki:

- debian daemons wiki:

- bumblebee project troubleshooting:

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