Setting Up VAAPI Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding for Ubuntu 10.04 (example Intel Poulsbo GMA 500)

(For the more detailed guide for Ubuntu 9.10, which works much better for me, including suspend to ram, see here.)
This is just a really, really short basic howto for setting up the poulsbo X driver and VAAPI video acceleration on Ubuntu 10.04. I will post more details later.

1. Install the poulsbo driver:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gma500/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gma500/fix
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install poulsbo-driver-3d

2. Set up the Xorg.conf:
Section "DRI"
Mode 0666

Section "Device"
Identifier "GMA500"
Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"
Option "DRI" "on"
Option "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"
Option "IgnoreACPI" "yes"
Driver "psb"

3. Reboot, check it's all working.

4. Download the right mplayer version:
unp mplayer-vaapi*

5. Install the necessary libraries: (you can remove mplayer then, but it's the easiest method)
sudo apt-get install mplayer libgtop2-7

6. and play
mplayer -vo vaapi -va vaapi testfile.avi

If mplayer doesn't run because of missing libraries, this command will show which libraries are missing:
ldd mplayer-vaapi*/mplayer

Be quick, before the instructions change due to new repositories, libraries, etc... But don't everything to work flawlessly! My system doesn't even go into suspend, but crashes. Hence it can't come out of suspend, either. Backlight control still doesn't work for me. And I still have to do more testing on mplayer to see how smooth VAAPI actually is.

Theoretically, installing VLC 1.1.0 with VAAPI should be as easy as this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:c-korn/vlc && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install vlc

But it didn't work out of the box for me and I didn't care about why. If you have hints, questions or - yes- comments, please post in the comments.


  1. This is incredible!

    I've been running Jolicloud, as it allows 100% driver support out of the box for every netbook(even Poulsbo GMA chipsets). However, I find that it is too dumbed down of an OS. It is reminiscent of an iPod touch's user interface.

    I will have to give Ubuntu 10.04 a shot. Can I just install the latest Ubuntu and start right away on your guide? Or is there any other work I need to do before getting the GMA 500 (poulsbo) drivers working?

    Again... THANK YOU!!!

  2. You're very welcome! ;)

    But beware that suspend does not work on my system in Ubuntu 10.04. I recommend 9.10 if you want a flawlessly running system.

    And if you run into any problems there, anything you need should be in this blog...

  3. I'll stick with 10.04. 480p video works just fine on my MSI Wind u110 in Adobe Flash. I'm sure 720p will run just as smooth in HTML5. As for 1080p.... well, we have 1024x600 resolution monitors so who cares :P

    I have a question though: In this article....

    You mention booting with a parameter force = 1? How would I go about doing that? You may want to mention editing in how to do so in your blog entry!

  4. I've posted the answer in the comments of the article you've mentioned.


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