Fedora 23 on System76 Oryx Pro

· Read in about 4 min · (684 Words)

I recently bought a System76 Oryx Pro, and have been getting myself familiar with it. Not satisfied with Ubuntu and Unity, I set out to install Fedora 23.

Pre-installation

In order to boot using the NVIDIA proprietary driver and still have access to a VGA console (rather than a blank screen), I found I needed to disable UEFI in the BIOS setup and install Fedora in BIOS mode. I don’t really see what I gain from booting with UEFI here, so I found this to be a pretty easy thing to leave off. In fact, the Intel boot splash that tells you to press F2 for Setup reappears when UEFI is disabled, so it seems like a win-win.

While you’re in the BIOS, enable the hybrid GPU. This will turn on an Intel integrated GPU that is compatible with bumblebee.

Installation

To get the installer to boot, you need to disable the nouveau driver. Edit the boot line (by pressing Tab when instructed) and add nouveau.modeset=0 to the kernel boot parameters. Once booted, install as normal.

Post-installation

On first reboot, once you’re at the GRUB boot line, press ‘E’ to edit the GRUB boot script. Change the first(ish) line from set gfxpayload=keep to set gfxpayload=text. For good measure, scroll down to the linux line, and add nouveau.modeset=0 there too.

GRUB

Append GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=text to /etc/default/grub (or install my system76-driver package from copr, which does this for you).

sudo echo GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=text >> /etc/default/grub
sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Bumblebee

Follow the instructions for setting up bumblebee on the Fedora wiki and all the issues described below are avoided. I’m leaving them here for posterity.

Summary

In the end, your /etc/default/grub should look like this:

GRUB_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR="$(sed 's, release .*$,,g' /etc/system-release)"
GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_DISABLE_SUBMENU=true
GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT="console"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="nouveau.modeset=0 rd.driver.blacklist=nouveau rhgb quiet"
GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"
GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=text

Non-Issues

These notes are non-issues if you set up Bumblebee and the GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX variable.

GDM Lag

The first thing I noticed upon reboot was GDM was extremely laggy. The mouse and keyboard inputs were jerky, and keystrokes repeated themselves. This appears to be some conflict between the GTX 970M, Wayland, and nouveau (though I didn’t research it a ton, because as it turned out, the proprietary nvidia driver runs GDM in Wayland smoothly). If you need to keep the nouveau driver, You can always uncomment the WaylandEnable option in /etc/gdm/custom.conf to disable Wayland in GDM and have a responsive GDM.

Proprietary NVIDIA driver

Enable rpmfusion and install akmod-nvidia. The nouveau driver does not support any form of hardware acceleration on this GPU (GTX 970M), so gnome-shell runs in low-performance mode (no animations, etc.). I strongly suggest using the nvidia drivers instead of nouveau. The nvidia drivers don’t support Linux KMS though, so the pretty graphical boot “Plymouth” won’t run. You’ll get a standard VGA boot graphic instead. I figured it’s a reasonable tradeoff. That pretty boot screen is only visible for a few seconds, so it’s worth disabling in favor of higher-performance graphics inside GNOME.

Backlight

This was the most perplexing thing I encountered. /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0 exists, the backlight hotkeys in GNOME change the value in actual_brightness as expected, but the backlight itself never adjusts. I found that xbacklight will adjust the brightness though, and after much research, I found this wiki article on the Archlinux wiki. They blame either the BIOS vendor or the GPU vendor, but either way, I’m stuck without a reasonable way to adjust backlight settings. So I created ~/.local/bin/xbacklightd, containing:

#!/bin/bash
max=/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/max_brightness
level=/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/actual_brightness
factor=$(awk '{print $1/100}' <<< $(<$max)) 

xblevel() { awk '{print int($1/$2)}' <<< "$(<$level) $factor"; }
xbacklight -set $(xblevel)
inotifywait -m -qe modify $level | while read -r file event; do
    xbacklight -set $(xblevel)
done

And a corresponding ~/.config/systemd/user/xbacklightd.service, containing:

[Unit]
Description=Monitor backlight file for changes

[Service]
ExecStart=/home/link/.local/bin/xbacklightd

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

This forces xbacklight to adjust the backlight setting whenever the file actual_brightness changes. You must have have both xbacklight and inotify-tools installed for this to work.

Edit: I’m not sure if this has any effect, but I did add video.use_native_backlight=1 to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/default/grub. It appears to make the backlight behave a little better, but all the above xbacklight stuff is still required.