Graphics flickering issue 19.04


have been using Budgie for a while now and recently bought a new laptop where i was running 18.10 budgie (love it btw) but recently got a notification on updates saying no more support for 18.10 so upgrade, so put it off a while (well since April) but thought been a rouund 5 months or so will do the upgrade hoping any teething troubles were ironed out…now the problem
So my graphics card is


  • Device-1: Intel UHD Graphics 620 driver: i915 v: kernel *
  • Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.4 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa *
  • resolution: 1920x1080~60Hz, 1680x1050~60Hz *
  • OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel UHD Graphics 620 (Kabylake GT2) v: 4.5 Mesa 19.0.2*

when I rebooted after installation, the signon screen comes up no problem - signed in and after about 5 seconds the screen flicks in and out, sometimes for a few seconds, then goes black, and so on forever…now the weird thing is you place a VGA cable in the laptop and connect to an external monitor and the whole thing is stable, unplug the ext monitor and it returns to flicking in and out.

… so i have tried the following list :-

  • Reinstalling latest Budgie ISO with no safe graphics - same issue
  • Reinstalling latest Budgie ISO with safe graphics - same issue
  • Reinstalling back to original 18.10 cosmic version and all is good
  • Installed another distro at 19.04 (Ubuntu MATE) to see if it was an Ubuntu thing or kernel issue (some settings for graphics now in kernel i believe) - all works no problem with both standalone laptop and ext monitors

Edited: - sorry meant to add have also tried with and without third party drivers aka ubuntu base and any intel driver avail for the i915 and both kernels 5.0.25 and the latest 5.0.27

Conclusion :- My only conclusion can be that there is either an issue with the base version Budgie is shipping with its desktop OR that there is something in the Budgie desktop settings or config that is in error.

If I can provide any more info let me know, but will have to reinstall 19.04 to replicate as need to use my laptop (which i will return for the moment to 18.10 as I prefer your desktop and love Tilix)

Thanks in advance.

Please can you clarify that you have fully updated after the installation. There has been several updates since the iso release back in April.

hi - yes this has been “tested” / installed using the latest downloaded iso from the Budgie site and after install doing all the updates and dist-updates (that was part of the move from 5.0.25 to 5.0.27 of the kernel)
This was right in the beginning done as part of the normal Ubuntu “upgrade” option from software updater, it was only after it then subsequently had issues with the video driver that i embarked on the trying to ascertain if it was due to that upgrade or a particular install option and then distro.
I have rebuilt now with 18.10, had i thought i could of videod it while it was flicking and show maybe some more settings, hindsight and all that

Suspect that this is a mutter issue. If its reproducible with normal ubuntu that will confirm it since we share the same window manager


If that was the case though would it not have manifested itself in the Ubuntu MATE version also (unless they have fixed it of their own accord?? and where do i go from here then if this is part of a base package but doesnt seem to affect any of the other distros ?

Mate uses one of two window managers … very different from gnome shell and budgie desktop

It’s the window manager that plots stuff on the screen and all window managers do that in different ways.

so whats the plan here then i would have to install base ubuntu with unity? but will that not be different in th same way all the other distros have their take on the base OS?
for me this means the end of the road if it is something that is never fixed because no one else comes across it?
Thanks, appreciate your help so far

Two parts.

What happens if you boot with nomodeset as your kernel boot parameter?

Does the issue occur if you boot into a live session? If it does, does it occur with a live session of the latest 19.10 daily image?


in answer to your questions

I tried the booting with nomodeset not only entered manually into the /etc/default/grub file (and updated grub) but also the 19.10 safe graphics mode does the same thing apparently when you install that option, so have tried it both ways and no dice.

re live session, no if you take the top option from the attached photo then it flickers but if you take the second option then it seems fine in this live (try out) mode

i tried the third and the fourth option on this menu and as reported they still made the screen flicker so is there a difference in the top 2 and what actually happens in the bottom 2 ??

I didnt try to install from the second options icon once the whole thing is loaded though although assume that is the same as option 3 if i had?

Would prefer we had some idea what the cause could be before i go trashing my system again to try anything out or if there is any commands or settings i can get you running it in flicker and non flicker try out mode othjer than the nomodeset, aka is it just that or are there other settings that option does?

Thanks for the effort here.



I had a quick google around and there are quite a few flickering issues raised about this graphics type


I’ve seen various people mention that you need to ensure you are using the latest EFI firmware from your manufacturer. Others have stated you need to ensure the latest intel firmware is installed (usually from menu Hardware drivers if its offered for you)

Again other suggestions is to use a special xorg.conf such as this

This seems to be the main upstream bug report

David (assume it is ok to call you by your forename?)

Thanks for the quick response, googling sometimes is knowing what to search for and I am not that knowledgeable linux dev to know the underlying bits tbh, but please clarify when you say “latest intel firmware” as in at a bios level or ?? the gpu as far as i know is just an on board chip so not sure how i go about ensureing this firmware is 1) not already up to date 2) if not what i am looking for off of perhaps Intel site to then either compile or install (depending on its format).


My mind however is like why does the try not install with safe work and the others seem not to? is there actually a difference in what is loaded up between the two “safe” options off the install menu?

That basically boots with nomodeset - the non-safe graphics options don’t use this kernel option.

So connect your external monitor to get a stable display - then open Menu - Hardware Drivers - see if there are any additional drivers such as the intel firmware offered to you.

From the upstream bug report the flickering issue is on-going - no real resolution. The upstream bug report is the Intel devs themselves - so they have not got to the bottom of these issues raised.

Some people on that bug report mention that booting with the fastboot kernel option seems to help. Others say don’t use the legacy options in the EFI options. There are a few other variations of “this works” type statements … and others that say “it doesn’t”.

OK thanks for the explanation, so i guess the best option to do stay on 18.10 for the time being until this is fixed, assuming it will be at some point if it affects lots of others by looks of?

It affects many users of all linux variants. You should keep an eye on that bug report.

Suggest try some of the options people have proposed.

I note one of the comments was exactly what you said that the display was stable when connecting an external monitor


Ok soplan is will install 19.04 side by side with the 18.10 for me that works, i asume i dont have to partition up front that the install wil sort that for me but will give it a go, question which option is best to go with for install safe mode or non safe mode initially? or is it that the only difference is that grub parameter and therefore can access that anyway so doesnt really matter?



if you use safe graphics then after the install it will continue using that safe-graphics option to boot - so yes that is the “safest” way to install.

You can always update your grub config later to remove that extra kernel boot option.

ok will see how it goes, try some of these options on the bug site - any mileage in replacing the supplied kernel with like nightly builds as assume someone os working on a fix for this, or would have to search that they are and then install accordingly, if it is affecting a number of users graphics would have thought there was some priority by both kernel and vendor devs?


Some progress - so i have installed along 18.10 the 19.10 version and even though selected safe graphics it still flickered when not external VGA, so i changed grub to have nomodeset in the command line and now it standsup on its own but i have no brightness controls and no VGA output to an external monitor, is this issue likely to be kernel based or purely firmware based for the gfx? if the former then is there any mileage in updating the kernel to a later version, it is currently on but noticed on there is a 5.3.0-994, but i assume if installed the debs for that that this version of ubuntu and potentially your own mods will not work on the later version of the kernel right??


The brightness control is highly likely due to nomodeset - VGA I’m not sure of - could be either nomodeset or kernel based.

If you are using v5.0.0.27 then you must have installed 19.04 alongside 18.10 - not 19.10

There is no harm trying the later kernels - if they don’t work just boot via grub to the earlier kernel and remove the latest kernels.