The Bumblebee project is a global collaboration that aims to unleash the ultimate power of Nvidia Optimus graphics in laptops operating under free GNU/Linux operating systems. In a nutshell, the technology required to make this possible involves the use of two graphic cards with different power consumption behavior. The cards share one framebuffer through layering, and result in longer battery life and crisp graphics that load in a jiffy.
A Concise History of the Bumblebee Project
The history of Project Bumblebee cannot be fully understood without grasping the beginnings of Nvidia’s hybrid graphics. And as the Hasbro Transformers franchise line goes: “more than meets the eye”. The graphic optimization and battery life enhancement of Nvidia’s hybrid graphics were not fit for all types of computers. This resulted in the failure of the old installation procedures, issues with three-dimensional acceleration, decreased resolution, and at worst, a black screen.
Developers began to devise workarounds for the inherent incompatibilities that haunted the combination of Linux systems and Nvidia technology. The most popular workarounds were eventually narrowed down to two competing solutions; one was by Martin Juhl, whose screen name is MrMEEE, and another by Dave Airlie, whose screen name is Red Hat. MrMEEE’s work was named “Prime Next Generation” (Prime-NG), whereas Red Hat’s work was called simply “Prime”. The collaborators shared their expertise to turn in a real solution to the Linux-Nvidia dilemma. The Prime-NG was later renamed Bumblebee.
Project Bumblebee Status: Alive and Kicking
Somewhere along the course of development, some began to believe that Bumblebee was dead because of a silent fallout within the team of developers. However, like the proverbial Phoenix, Project Bumblebee rose from the ashes of the old team to fulfill its destiny to synergize GNU/Linux systems with the Nvidia Optimus technology.
To date, newer notebook models with a discrete Nvidia card running under Intel Core i3, i4, and i7 processors can successfully integrate Nvidia Optimus into their units running Windows 7 and Windows 8. However, Project Bumblebee is still very much a work in progress; so Nvidia and Bumblebee developers will not rest until they address the needs of Nvidia patrons.
In its current status, Project Bumblebee is a collection of tools with the goal of offering support for Linux OS. Its developers are putting in their best efforts to come up with the right match of kernels and drivers for notebooks and laptops. When the final solution is released to users, the team will try to make sure that even legacy versions of hybrid graphics will benefit from this proposed innovation.
Interested users and developers should be aware that Project Bumblebee has provided various repositories storing parts of software collections, which make the tools work. Some of these extensive sets of software are no longer in use, whereas some are being added from time to time.
If you are interested in Bumblebee version 3.0, you must be looking for on-demand graphics processing unit (GPU) offloading. The repository named Bumblebee stores the core server/client application, which is needed for the basic functionality of the tool. The application is coded in C language.
If you are interested in Bumblebee version 2.4.1, the applicable repository is Bumblebee-old. This repository stores the previous version, but unless you are a developer, you may not find much use for it. All issues which are not applicable to version 3.0 have been closed.
The repository that stores the kernel module for switching the Nvidia card on or off is named bbswitch.
The initial draft of the user interface (UI) for Bumblebee is stored in the repository name bumblebee-ui. In all probability, the UI will also be coded in C language.
Now you’ve had a peek at Project Bumblebee, its beginnings, and its current status. In no time, Nvidia will push its horizons towards the future of computing technology. With Project Bumblebee at its helm, enhanced graphics and optimized battery power will soon be taken to unforeseen heights — and It’s about time!
==== About the Author ====
David Fuller is an article contributor at www.shoppingpreview.com. He joins other contributors in giving consumers the low-down on the most recent product developments in the information technology industry.