Revision as of 12:33, November 27, 2014 by Tassietux (Talk | contribs)

The purpose of this page is to give you streamlined steps for setting up your video hardware for X, and desktop environments such as GNOME.


Editors: OK, I've decided to change the plans for this page. This is going to be a page similar to Subarches. The idea is to help people to identify their hardware and guide them toward the correct driver for their chipset. The focus will be primarily on defining the types of hardware that are supported, what products they appear in, and how to know if you have this hardware, and also give people good general overview of options available to them (free vs. proprietary, etc.) Other important topics that apply to all drivers, like eselect opengl should be covered as well. This will then serve as the meta-page for Video support, with individual ebuild pages holding the details for each driver.

Video Drivers

First determine which video card you have and which driver it requires.

# lspci -nn | grep -i vga

to see what your system is using:

# lspci -k

Once hardware is determined use the following sections to add or edit the VIDEO_CARDS global variable in /etc/portage/make.conf. For more granular details including kernel configurations, frame buffer settings, and xorg configurations: see specific package page links.


Users can choose between free (Radeon Video Drivers) and proprietary (AMD Catalyst Video Drivers) video drivers. The free drivers are recommended as the proprietary drivers are not currently maintained very well by AMD.


  • NEED TABLE: available drivers, hardware gen, required VIDEO_CARDS variable

Radeon Video Drivers

Open source drivers:

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable

AMD Catalyst Video Drivers

Closed source drivers:

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable



  • NEED TABLE: available drivers, hardware gen, VIDEO_CARDS variable

gen 1&2

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable

gen 3

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable
VIDEO_CARDS="intel i915"

gen 4+

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable
VIDEO_CARDS="intel i965"


Users can choose between Open (nouveau) and Closed-Source NVIDIA Linux Display Drivers video drivers. Open nouveau drivers are preferred as many kernels conflict with closed-source drivers.


  • NEED TABLE: nouveau + nvidia-drivers versions, hardware gen, required VIDEO_CARDS variable

Nouveau Video Drivers (Open Source)

Open source drivers:

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable

NVIDIA Linux Display Drivers

Closed source drivers:

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable

see Uvesafb for framebuffering.


Multiple Cards (Hybrid Graphics)

recommended make.conf VIDEO_CARDS Hybrid intel/ati:

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable
VIDEO_CARDS="fglrx intel"

Virtual Machine Guests

These settings are used by Parallels VM's and presumably others

/etc/portage/make.conf - set video global variable
VIDEO_CARDS="vesa vga"

Framebuffer Specific

x11-drivers/xf86-video-vesa (package not on wiki - please add)

Raspberry Pi


This section is in need of updates.


Once your video cards variables are set in make.conf, and kernel configurations are arranged merge changes into your system:

# emerge -avuND world

we should change world to the specific package that pulls in all the other video stuff so if this page is ran on an old stale system it doesn't pull in 50 bazillion packages



nvidia-xconfig, etc.


aticonfig, etc.

# aticonfig --initial --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf

Finalize and test

eselect opengl


change the number of card eselected to match the card of your system

# eselect opengl list
# eselect opengl set 1

eselect opencl


some setups can make use of opencl

#eselect opencl list
#eselect opencl set 1
  • reboot/test process


  • what to do if only a blank screen

Category:Video Cards wrap me with braces when im snazzy Category:First Steps wrap me with braces when im snazzy