Disable nouveau driver on hybrid graphics cards laptop

I had some problems with the plymouth boot screen in the past few days. In fact, the problems come again from guess what? Yes, my hybrid graphics cards in my laptop! ;)

I found that simply blacklisting the nouveau driver was not enough, it was still there after a reboot. That seems to cause a distorted boot screen from time to time.

So, here is what I did to be sure that nouveau is not used at all, just the Intel driver (all these steps must be done as a privileged user) :

  • First, blacklist the nouveau driver :

echo “blacklist nouveau” >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf

  • Add rdblacklist=nouveau to the end of your grub.conf kernel parameters list
  • Rebuild you initrd with this command :

mkinitrd -f /boot/initrd-$(uname -r).img $(uname -r)

After that, you should reboot and see your boot screen come out clean each time. Also, you should notice that lsmod don’t report nouveau as being loaded anymore, just the Intel one.

If you have any other ways to fix this issue, I welcome any improvements!

Linux and hybrid graphics cards

I recently bought a Dell laptop (Vostro 3300) and directly installed Fedora 14 on it. Everything worked out of the box, I just needed to install Broadcom wireless driver.

But, I was wrong! The laptop come with a Nvidia card, and checking the output of lspci, I found an Intel VGA card too. So I start reading why I have a Nvidia and an Intel cards in my laptop to find the new cool technology : Optimus graphics from Nvidia…

This Optimus thing work by having a low power card (in that case, the Intel one) for everyday use and a powerful card (Nvidia) for 3D effects. ATI have something like this too, with another marketing name. The problem is that these technologies are not supported on Linux.

Nvidia said they have no plan on supporting it : http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=144750

I don’t really care about switching graphics cards when I use my laptop. But right now, the situation is that I am stuck with the Intel one, with no means of using the Nvidia card. More, the Nvidia card is always powered, so, in place of saving power, it use more!

There is some effort to make this work with the “nouveau” driver. I will follow the development to see how well it advance : http://linux-hybrid-graphics.blogspot.com/

It amaze me that big company like Intel and Nvidia release something with no Linux support today…