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Bumblebee Project

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.

The instructions on this page applies to Debian Wheezy and newer. Debian Squeeze and prior are not supported.

For Sid and Jessie users, Bumblebee packages are available directly from the Debian repositories, head down to the Installation section. In summary, it's as simple as installing bumblebee or bumblebee-nvidia, and primus.

For Wheezy users, Bumblebee packages are available from wheezy-backports. 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 wheezy-backports main contrib non-free), and then install bumblebee or bumblebee-nvidia, and primus. Refer to the Installation section below.


From repository

Sid and Jessie users can install everything directly from the official repositories.

For users who would like to use the free nouveau driver:

sudo apt-get install bumblebee primus

For users who would like to use the proprietary nvidia driver (again, requires contrib and non-free enabled in your sources.list):

sudo apt-get install bumblebee-nvidia primus

Wheezy users can install everything directly from backports.

sudo apt-get install -t wheezy-backports bumblebee primus

sudo apt-get install -t wheezy-backports bumblebee-nvidia primus

Alternatively, Wheezy, Jessie, and Sid users can install everything from an external repository (which was setup before bumblebee packages were made available in the official repositories). Check for details.

Compiling from source

Refer to Bumblebee/ManualInstall. These instructions are provided for historical reference only and are not recommended now that packages are available through the repositories.


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


For a list of options for optirun open the manpage with man optirun or run:

Power Management

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.

bbswitch is packaged in Debian and is automatically installed when choosing to install bumblebee through the repositories.

Since Bumblebee 3.0, this feature is enabled by default, using bbswitch. This allow automatic power management, without any configuration needs. If Power Management doesn't work on your laptop, please go to this Power Management (PM) page and help to improve Bumblebee.


If you have any questions, feel free to join #bumblebee on Freenode.

Reporting bugs/problems

First of all: If you have any problem, please read the article Troubleshooting. If your issue is not solved, you can join the #bumblebee IRC channel to ask for help (recommended). See also

When asked to create a bugreport, run the sudo bumblebee-bugreport command in a terminal

Common issues

If optirun returns the following error: [ERROR]Cannot access secondary GPU - error: Could not load GPU driver

You must edit /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf using your preferred editor as root, and change "?KernelDriver=nvidia" to "?KernelDriver=nvidia-current", then restart the bumblebee daemon, i.e.

 sudo service bumblebeed restart 

(Refer to #717687 for a brief explanation.)

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