Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fedora 19: Nouveau Drivers Are Fixed!

At work a few months ago I got a new laptop: a Lenovo T530 with the Optimus Technology display chipset:
For more taxing multimedia and gaming use, NVIDIA's line of NVS with Optimus graphics cards provide the graphical processing boost you need. Optimus technology automatically configures your system to provide for the most optimal experience with your games or applications while also maintaining battery life.
The problem that I hit was that the Nouveau drivers would NOT work nicely with this video setup. If I disabled the nVidia hardware and run only the Intel video chipset things worked beautifully, but I could not use my docking station since it doesn't support external displays. If I enabled the nVidia hardware only then I could drive my external monitors but couldn't go into standby mode, couldn't dock and then undock, and inevitably the display would get borked (BZ#948079).

To deal with the problem, I had no choice but to start using the closed-source nVidia drivers. They're freely licensed, but being closed source just goes against the spirit of what I support. And it also has the annoying habit of requiring me to run the nVidia configuration tool when I dock my laptop in order to enable the external monitors rather than just switching to them automatically, which is what the nouveau drivers do.

So when I upgraded my laptop with Fedora 19 (Schroedinger's Cat), I was happy to find that the bug had, at some point, been quietly fixed!

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