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Prime Indicator is an AppIndicator for laptops with Nvidia Optimus, allowing users to quickly switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics.

Prime Indicator Plus

The original Prime Indicator hasn't been updated since February, 2015. André Brait forked the indicator (while also using code from the Linux Mint version), improving it with both new functionality and bug fixes, and the new app is called Prime Indicator Plus.

Using the nvidia-prime package, Ubuntu users can switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics by using Nvidia Settings (under PRIME Profiles), which then requires restarting the session (logout/login) to apply the changes. Prime Indicator makes this easier, by allowing you to switch graphics from the indicator menu, including triggering the logout.

On top of that, Prime Indicator also displays the graphics you're currently using as the indicator icon and, in André's fork (Prime Indicator Plus) case, it also displays the actual Nvidia GPU status (if bbswitch doesn't work properly, Intel may be displayed as being in use, but the Nvidia GPU might still be powered on, consuming battery and making the laptop hotter), allowing you to force it on or off.

Among the improvements included in Prime Indicator Plus (compared to the original Prime Indicator) are:
  • added support for multiple desktop environments: MATE, Cinnamon, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and LXQt (Unity was already supported);
  • ported to Python3;
  • support for displaying the Nvidia GPU status (on/off);
  • added option to force the Nvidia GPU on or off (useful when using Intel but you want to run CUDA programs for instance);
  • added new icons as well as options to use symbolic (attempts to color the icons based on your current GTK theme; this might not work for all themes), theme default (icons provided by your theme, with fallback to colored icons), color icons, or custom colors (allows setting the icon color using hexadecimal RGB values).

Because there are major changes between André's fork and the original Prime Indicator, I packaged the fork as a separate package ("prime-indicator-plus"). So if for some reason you don't want to use this fork, you can continue to use the old Prime Indicator. However, note that you can't install both Prime indicators in the same time (installing one automatically remove the other).

To change the Prime Indicator Plus icons, you'll need to edit the ~/.config/prime-indicator/prime-indicator.cfg file, and change the "iconset" value. You'll find exact instructions for this on the Prime Indicator Plus GitHub page.  To match the icon to the Ubuntu Mono Dark icons (light icons on dark panel), use "custom(#DFDBD2)" (without the quotes) for the "iconset" value.

Install Prime Indicator Plus

Important: Prime Indicator is intended for laptops with Nvidia Optimus, to be used in conjunction with the nvidia-prime package (this package is installed along with Prime Indicator). It's not intended to be used with BumblebeeDon't install this if you use Bumblebee as it can cause issues!

If you use Bumblebee, you can install Nvidia Power Indicator from the same PPA mentioned below (the package is: "nvidia-prime-indicator"), which allows you to view which GPU is being used and to manually turn the dedicated GPU on or off when needed.

To install the Prime Indicator Plus, you can use the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install it by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install prime-indicator-plus
Alternatively, you can download the deb from HERE (but you won't receive updates unless you add the PPA).

Prime Indicator Plus doesn't show up in the menu / Dash, but it's set to start automatically, so restart the session (logout/login). Alternatively, you can run it from a terminal or using ALT + F2 and typing "prime-indicator".

Report any issues you may encounter @ GitHub.