Install and usage

Bruno Pagani edited this page May 19, 2016 · 34 revisions

Here you will find instructions in many ways to install, test and use Bumblebee.


The best and recommended way to install Bumblebee is through your distribution repositories. If not such packages exist, then you can still install Bumblebee manually from source.

Install from packages



Stable Package:

AUR Package (develop branch):


Chakra Wiki:


Debian Wiki:


Fedora Wiki:


Portage: (emerge bumblebee)

Overlay: (use layman -a bumblebee to add)







Slackware Docs:


Ubuntu Wiki:


Dev PPA:

Install from source

Here are some instructions on how to build the Bumblebee daemon (bumblebeed) and client (optirun). Whenever you see a command preceded by # means it must be run as root (i.e. with sudo).


Build Requirements

If you're building from git, you'll also need:

  • autotools (2.68+ recommended)
Runtime Requirements
  • either VirtualGL or primus
  • bbswitch (optional but recommended for Power Management)
  • drivers. nouveau is an opensource choice. If you want to use the proprietary NVIDIA driver, you have to install it in a way such that its library files won't conflict with the Mesa libraries (notably

Build and install

After downloading the source tarball, extract and configure it:

$ tar xf bumblebee-VERSION.tar.gz
$ cd bumblebee-VERSION
$ ./configure

If you have retrieved the code from the git repository, you need to run autoreconf -fi prior to running ./configure.

To set your default driver to nvidia you need to pass some configuration flags to ./configure step:

$ ./configure CONF_DRIVER=nvidia CONF_DRIVER_MODULE_NVIDIA=nvidia-current \
  CONF_LDPATH_NVIDIA=/usr/lib/nvidia-current:/usr/lib32/nvidia-current \

Note: Those settings are intended for Ubuntu users, your paths may differ. (See the Warning under Using Nvidia header in Supported Drivers for more information)

Note: the default installation path is /usr/local, configuration files will be installed to /usr/local/etc/bumblebee. To change this to /usr and /etc/bumblebee, use:

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc

For more configuration options, run ./configure --help for more information.

Once the configuration has completed, build the binaries:

$ make

To install it system-wide:

# make install


Then you must create group bumblebee on your system and add yourself to it

# groupadd bumblebee
# gpasswd -a $USER bumblebee

Re-login to apply changes.

You're not ready to use Bumblebee yet, the daemon must be started first (see Usage below).


The daemon must be started before the client can be used.

Daemon (bumblebeed)

Have a look at Configuration for configuring Bumblebee. Often, no further modifications are needed.

The daemon can be started manually with:

# bumblebeed --daemon

For more command line options, run bumblebeed --help (or man bumblebeed if you've installed manpages).

If you want to start Bumblebee automatically when the system starts, you need to use an initscript. Some example initscripts have been build in the scripts/ directory. Refer to your distributions documentation for instructions on installing one.

To run a program you just run

$ optirun <program-name>

Client (optirun)

Run optirun --help for options or run man optirun if you've installed manual pages.

The next command runs the glxspheres program on the discrete video card:

$ optirun glxspheres
You can’t perform that action at this time.
You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.
Press h to open a hovercard with more details.