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This page contains an explanation of how to set up the X server for our hardware.


fbdev driver

X tends to come preinstalled with the standard fbdev driver. This gives you a working environment, but it might be lagging a bit, and you get no hardware supported 2d or 3d acceleration.

No action needs to be taken for this driver to work though, you only need to have a working display driver.

fbturbo driver

fbturbo driver works on both mainline and legacy (sunxi-3.x) kernels, utilizing a combination of various acceleration options to make your desktop experience much more fluid:

  • NEON CPU instructions
  • sunxi G2D 2D acceleration (legacy only)
  • sunxi display engine for overlays and hardware cursor (legacy only)
  • Mali GPU acceleration for 3D/GL applications

For Mali support see our Mali binary driver installation howto).

This driver is a further development from the ARM provided mali xorg driver, which is available from our sunxi repositories, but that driver only provides Mali support and no NEON or 2D acceleration, and doesn't use the sunxi display engine.

Manual build


For debian or ubuntu you need the following development packages for building X drivers:

apt-get install git build-essential xorg-dev xutils-dev x11proto-dri2-dev libltdl-dev libtool automake 

If you intend to use the Mali GPU, then you need to first install libUMP as well.

Clone the repository

Now get the fbturbo xf86 driver (from the 0.4.0 release tag):

git clone -b 0.4.0 https://github.com/ssvb/xf86-video-fbturbo.git
cd xf86-video-fbturbo


autoreconf -vi
./configure --prefix=/usr


make install


Then copy over the default xorg.conf for the fbturbo driver (the preferred location for xorg.conf would be /etc/X11/ instead of /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/):

rm /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-sunxifb.conf
cp xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf


For some distributions, there are packages available. For more information, check our packages howto.


You should now be able to (re)start your xserver, have a quick look through /var/log/Xorg.0.log to verify that the correct driver has been loaded:

(II) Module fbturbo: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
   compiled for 1.12.4, module version = 0.4.0
   Module class: X.Org Video Driver
   ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 12.1
(II) FBTURBO: driver for framebuffer: fbturbo
(--) using VT number 7

Common issues

The log complains about being compiled without libUMP

If you have the following lines in your Xorg.0.log, then you need to install libUMP (or the libump-dev package), and then rebuild and install the fbturbo driver.

(II) FBTURBO(0): no 3D acceleration because the driver has been compiled without libUMP
(II) FBTURBO(0): if this is wrong and needs to be fixed, please check ./configure log

The screen goes off and will not restart until reset

This seems to be linked (to be verified) to fbturbo (former name sunxifb). DPMS has 3 options : standby, suspend and off. The standby and suspend options work. But DPMS off put off the screen with the following error on console and in dmesg :

 disp clks: lcd 146000000 pre_scale 1 hdmi 146000000 pll 219000000 2x 1

A workaround is to add in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-sunxifb.conf, in Section "Device":

 Option "OffTime" "0"

However, it you still have problems, you can disable DPMS completely in the X server by properly editing xorg.conf (located either in /etc/X11 or /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d) add adding a Screen and Monitor section that disables DPMS. The following xorg.conf works with xf86-video-fbturbo (the new name of xf86-video-sunxifb):

 Section "Screen"
         Identifier      "My Screen"
         Device          "fbturbo device"
         Monitor         "My Monitor"
 Section "Device"
         Identifier      "fbturbo device"
         Driver          "fbturbo"
         Option          "fbdev" "/dev/fb0"
         Option          "SwapbuffersWait" "true"
 Section "Monitor"
         Identifier      "My Monitor"
         Option          "DPMS" "false"

Another suggested option is to alter the other DPMS timers (OffTime is sometimes called BlankTime):

 Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "ServerLayout0"
    Option "StandbyTime" "0"
    Option "SuspendTime" "0"

See also

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