Sunday, October 10, 2010

Installing gma500(poulsbo) drivers in Ubuntu 10.10

To install the GMA500 drivers on your Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meercat install do the following:
Open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gma500/ppa && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install poulsbo-driver-2d poulsbo-driver-3d poulsbo-config

then reboot.

Your screen resolution should now be correct.

NOTE: using the gma500(poulsbo) with Ubuntu is not recommended for new Ubuntu users as you will not have the full Ubuntu experience due to the proprietary nature of the drivers.  Please understand this is not an Ubuntu issue but is related to copyright and intellectual property rights associated with this chipset.  If you are a new Ubuntu user and want out of the box support for the gma500 Jolicloud does a pretty good job.

Hope this helps.

I also recommend checking out my guide to installing Elegant Gnome a great theme for Ubuntu.


  1. Hello I`m so grateful for your help, and I installed all, but when I restarted my computer, can`t entered to ubuntu. Just showed tne black screen with the name of my computer and I written my user name and password and entered to the terminal. Just that. Please, if you know why happened this, I need help. Oh, I`m using the netbook version of Ubuntu 10.10, and I`m a begginner in this. Sorry for my english, isn`t my first language.

  2. Sorry. my computer is a Sharp Willcom D4, is a UMPC.

  3. @Jairo E.
    Sorry to hear that. To remove the drivers you can try:
    sudo apt-get remove poulsbo-driver-2d poulsbo-driver-3d poulsbo-config

    I haven't tried the netbook version of 10.10 with these drivers so that may be the problem, you could try with the desktop edition to see if that is the problem.

    Please post back any progress you make with this and i will add it to the guide.

  4. @Jairo E.
    When I log in to Ubuntu, I am given the choice between:
    Ubuntu Desktop Edition
    Ubuntu Desktop Edition (Failsafe)
    Ubuntu Netbook Edition

    The Netbook Edition does not work for me.
    However, if you choose "automatic login" during installation, I dont know how you can choose Desktop Edition... maybe a quick reinstall, without automatic login, and then you can try Desktop Edition.

    I will try to figure out what is the problem with Netbook Edition right now.

    I did install Ubuntu 10.10 NBR by the way,

  5. Hey, Thanks on my Netbook with Ubuntu 10.10 it works really good

  6. My advise would be to avoid Ubuntu on any netbook that requires Paulsbo drivers. While the above instructions should fix the screen resolution they may break video. When I have installed these drivers, the webcam breaks and I can no longer play video's. Original there were no problems with 10.4, but a few months ago Video stopped working. To test I installed Ubuntu 10.10 on a small partition. Video's,movies,webcam all worked without the Paulsbo drivers (the screen res was broken obviously). As soon as the Paulsbo drivers were installed once again, video was broken. As soon as I can move my data I'm going back to Windows. Its not all Ubuntu's fault its just that these proprietary drivers are not properly supported

  7. @Jason King to get videos working with this driver you need to install mplayer from the gma500 ppa which is compiled with vaapi support. But on the whole i agree the driver situation is far from perfect although i have been getting decent performance with these drivers.

  8. @Jason King you make a very valid point so i have added a note to the post explaining this isn't for first time Ubuntu users but rather for more experienced user who don't want or can't run windows. Trying to get Ubuntu onto something with a gma500 could certainly ruin a users first experience of Ubuntu(which is normally super easy).

  9. @jamespcole, @Zo0ok

    Hello, im the user of the sharp Willcom D4 UMPC. Thanks for your answers and ideas. Well, the problem is not with the version of ubuntu, I tried desktop version to and the same results. finally im using ubuntu without graphic drivers I just can use a 800x600 resolution (the screen supports 1024x600) but like says japanese people shoganai (there is not solution) for now. Thanks for all. If somebody knows about other solution, please.

  10. I'm a newbie where Ubuntu is concerned and I'm using a T91 with Ubuntu 10.10 NBR your advice was on the money. The gma500 drivers got my screen res back to normal and the elegant gnome "ROCKS!!!". Just any ideas how to get the unity interface or something close to it to work?

  11. After having to reinstall the system three times before finding your blog, is now perfect in my Acer Inspire One ZA3 - A0751h


  12. Don't do this!

    Currently for Ubuntu 10.10 it installs a bad xorg.conf file and you'll be stuck without X.

  13. Hi all, I would like to confirm after last comment if it is still safe to change drivers to poulsbo or if there is any way to fix last error commented.
    Best regards.

  14. Ok, I can confirm it works today.. xD

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Is this still valid? I cannot install anything on my 10.10? I updated from my working 10.10 to 11.04 and now want to go back, as I didn't get my Poulsbo-bastard work on 11.04.
    It tell on every file that name couldn't be resolved. Network is working. My machine is (unfortunately) Nokia netbook 3g.

  17. Works great with a Dell Mini-10V and Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook spin.
    And, Elegant Gnome is a treat! :)
    Thanks very much!