NVIDIA’s Optimus technology is designed to let laptops with integrated and a discrete NVIDIA graphics card switch between the two options automatically. Since the NVIDIA graphics chip uses more power, it only kicks in when you need it, letting you rely on the Intel graphics chip in your processor the rest of the time.
Up until now, NVIDIA has only officially supported computers running Windows. But at least one NVIDIA software engineer is working on adding support for Linux.
NVIDIA’s Aaron Plattner reports that he has a proof-of-concept version of a driver for Optimus-based laptops. It’s still a work in progress and there are still some kinks to work out.
But, given NVIDIA’s strained relationship with the Linux crowd, this is a pretty big development.
Meanwhile there’ s an unofficial open-source project called Bumblebee which aims to add support for Optimus-like graphics switching.