Ubuntu causing eye strain on Intel Integrated Graphics

Bug #1853694 reported by Paul F on 2019-11-23
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
linux (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

When using Ubuntu for 5-10 minutes I get heavy eyes and after a few hours develop dizziness/headaches.

After research online and talking with a community at LED Strain (https://ledstrain.org) it is believed the issue is caused by temporal dithering being enabled in Ubuntu. There is no known way disable this by default so I am requesting that temporal dithering is switched off to avoid discomfort.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 18.04
Package: linux-image-5.0.0-36-generic 5.0.0-36.39~18.04.1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 5.0.0-36.39~18.04.1-generic 5.0.21
Uname: Linux 5.0.0-36-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.9-0ubuntu7.9
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: ubuntu:GNOME
Date: Sat Nov 23 12:56:12 2019
InstallationDate: Installed on 2019-11-22 (1 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS "Bionic Beaver" - Release amd64 (20190805)
SourcePackage: linux-signed-hwe
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Paul F (pf1985) wrote :
Timo Aaltonen (tjaalton) wrote :

Ubuntu uses 24bit color palette by default, so I bet it's not dithering you see.. Maybe you mean the screen is flickering?

affects: linux-signed-hwe (Ubuntu) → linux (Ubuntu)
Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Paul F (pf1985) wrote :

The screen is flickering in so much as there is a very faint shimmering effect. This is usually the effect of dithering which adjusts the pixel color values rapidly to give the impression of colors that are not normally present. This effect is welcomed if using a low quality display however for certain indivduals causes significant discomfort. Can it be confirmed that any form of dithering is enabled by default in Ubuntu and is there an option to turn it off?

hapstad (hapstad) wrote :

I have the same issues across OS and distros and modern hardware. It has ruined my career and life. I have tested/ruled out all conventional gremlins from posture to PWM. I too am convinced this is related to dithering and since it's one thing that thus far cannot be verifiably shut off and tested I think it's critical to be able to. PLEASE can someone with the skills to do this work on this. I would pay for a solution here.

Timo Aaltonen (tjaalton) wrote :

the flicker is a driver bug, test a newer mainline kernel build


test with drm-tip, and if it still flickers, a bug should be filed upstream

Mike Bogdanov (kammerer) wrote :

In my case I have very similar eye discomfort on nvidia (nouvea + nvidia drivers), ati (radeon driver) and intel card on Ununtu 16.04-19.10 that then causes sickness and headaches. Looks like problem in some shared code used by all of mentioned card drivers or smth wrong in drm itself.

Mike Bogdanov (kammerer) wrote :

In my cases it's also very noticeable that colors on Ubuntu 16.04-19.10 are much brighter than on Ubuntu 14.04. Changes in gamma doesn't help me. So maybe there could be a problem with color processing (dithering could be one of such problem).

Paul F (pf1985) wrote :

I have installed and am now running the latest mainline kernel build successfully.

There is still flickering at this moment in time. I am currently in the process of making drm-tip on my machine. Do I simply run drm-tip while running the newer kernel or is there any specific usage?

Mike Bogdanov (kammerer) wrote :

> the flicker is a driver bug, test a newer mainline kernel build

Timo, Could you provide link to bug issue

Paul F (pf1985) on 2019-11-26
description: updated
Paul F (pf1985) wrote :

I have now compiled and tested with drm-tip and unfortunately there is no change.

Mike Bogdanov (kammerer) on 2019-12-18
Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Mike Bogdanov (kammerer) on 2019-12-18
information type: Public → Public Security
information type: Public Security → Public
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