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Optimus: Nvidia supports Linux technology for hybrid graphics

Since 2012, both the Linux kernel and the X server have supported the so-called mainstream technique to support hybrid graphics. The current beta version 435.17 of the proprietary Nvidia Linux driver now also supports Prime technology. The idea is to use Prime on those devices that have two different graphics cards, one of which is significantly more powerful than the other.

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Nvidia sells technology like Optimus and has been running its own Linux implementation for years. Now comes a Prime-based implementation that can support and use free drivers in the Linux kernel by default.

In particular, the beta driver supports so-called rendering loading, which means that graphically intensive applications can run on the Nvidia GPU and then print with the rest of the image generated on the smaller iGPU. Nvidia supports unloading for OpenGL / GLX and Vulcan. Some more X server patches are required to use. Nvidia offers packages created in its own Ubuntu PPA. In addition, interested users should take extra precautions to use Prime technology with the new Nvidia driver.

The lack of support for Optimus under Linux led to the anger of Linus Torvalds in a speech in the summer of 2012. The video card maker is the worst company to ever work with kernel developers, Torvalds said. Known for his harsh criticism, the Linux inventor was also on the verge at the time "Fuck you, Nvidia!" carried away.

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