Sunday, April 12, 2009

Installation Guide for Ubuntu Jaunty (v 9.04)

The three alternatives

Users with ATI cards basically have these options:

  1. Use the open source drivers. These are stable and nice, but currently have poor 3D performance, if any. If that's not a problem, they are the Right Choice (tm).
  2. Use the restricted-driver management system that comes with Ubuntu to install the drivers (envy/jockey/"restricted" packages).
  3. Install the drivers manually. This should be your last resort, and may not even work.

The open source drivers

By default, one of the open source drivers are used. If this works for you, you don't need to change anything.

These come with the X server:

  • vesa (should work everywhere)
  • ati (will select the "radeon" driver automatically, if needed)
  • radeon
  • radeonhd

The "ati" driver will automatically choose the best driver for your video card. There is no need to change it from "ati" or even create an xorg.conf file in most cases. The xorg.conf file is being deprecated. There's an ongoing debate about how and if the radeon and radeonhd drivers will be used in the future.

Installing the restricted drivers "the Ubuntu way"

Restricted Drivers Manager

This doesn't work for all ATI cards just yet. In the near future you should be able to have this smooth experience:

  • Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) provides a notification saying that there are restricted drivers available
  • Go to the Restricted Drivers Manager and enable the "ATI accelerated graphics driver"
  • Ubuntu will then install and configure the driver for you

Post-Installation Tweaks

To enable hardware accelerated video on pre-R500 cards, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to include the following lines without [...]

Section "Device"
Driver "fglrx"
Option "VideoOverlay" "on"
Option "OpenGLOverlay" "off"

Note that when Visual Effects (Compiz) are active, flickering and artifacts may occur in OpenGL applications and hardware accelerated video windows (particularly with R300 chipset). To prevent this, disable Visual Effects.

Installing the restricted drivers manually

If you are using the x86_64 architecture (64 bit), be sure to inst "ia32-libs" before proceeding!

Make sure universe and multiverse are enabled in your repository sources.

Before you start

Install the necessary programs

Terminal Command

sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++5 dkms

1. Download the latest Catalyst package.

Download page: Catalyst 9.3. This package contains both the 32-bit and 64-bit driver.

Open a terminal window and switch to the directory you downloaded the installer to. (Example: $ cd Desktop)

Make sure your directory path does not contain spaces

2. Create .deb packages.

Terminal Command

sh --buildpkg Ubuntu/jaunty

3. Just in case

Write down or remember this series of Alt+PrntScr key combinations, just in case your screen should go black and Ctrl+Alt+F1 and Ctrl+Alt+Backspace doesen't work.

Alt+PrntScr+r, Alt+PrntScr+s, Alt+PrntScr+e, Alt+PrntScr+i, Alt+PrntScr+n, Alt+PrntScr+u, Alt+PrntScr+b

These keypresses will reboot the system safely. To rembember the keypresses, remember this nonsensical phrase: "Raising Skinny Elefants Is Never Utterly Boring"

4. Install .debs.

Install the debs, depending on if you're on a 32-bit or 64-bit system:

  • For 32-bit systems
Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_*.deb fglrx-kernel-source_*.deb fglrx-amdcccle_*.deb

(This may fail due to a missing dpmk. If so install this first. Also check the version numbers (8.561) against the created debs)

  • For 64-bit systems
Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_*.deb fglrx-kernel-source_*.deb fglrx-amdcccle_*.deb

Using tab completion can make this command easier. link title

Additional 64-bit instructions

If you have a 64 bit install, the above dpkg command may complain that "Errors were encountered while processing: fglrx-amdcccle". This is because of a dependency of the amdccle package on 32 bit libraries. If you receive this error, issue the following command after the above dpkg command, which will force the installation of all of the 32 bit dependencies, and then the amdcccle package:

Terminal Command

sudo apt-get install -f

Catalyst 9.3 on 64-bit systems requires the --force-overwrite command in the above dpkg command:

Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i --force-overwrite xorg-driver-fglrx_*.deb fglrx-kernel-source_*.deb fglrx-amdcccle_*.deb

Using tab completion can make this command easier.

Finishing the Install: Configuration

Note: try auto config first, and follow the question guide, reboot; if no effect observed, restore xorg.conf-bkp

Terminal Command

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf-bkp
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

If you've used fglrx previously, you will not need to do this.

Now you'll have to edit your xorg.conf

For Ubuntu:

Terminal Command

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

For Kubuntu:

Terminal Command

sudo kate /etc/X11/xorg.conf

and add the following line to the Device section (if it does not already exist). Include the following lines without [...]:

Section "Device"
Driver "fglrx"

Save and exit, then run

Terminal Command

sudo aticonfig --initial -f

in a terminal. If it doesn't give an error you should be good.

Some people find that changes to xorg.conf don't get used by the driver. To force the ati driver to adopt changes made to xorg.conf, type the following command:

Terminal Command

sudo aticonfig --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf --tls=1

Finally, reboot the computer and type

Terminal Command


into the terminal. If the vendor string contains ATI, you have installed the driver successfully. Release 8.12 looks like:

display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon HD 3850
OpenGL version string: 2.1.8304 Release

Please note: Depending on the particular ATI card that you own, you may or may not automatically have all of the relevant driver features enabled. R500 and R600 cards (X1xxx, HD series, and newer) in particular will need TexturedVideo enabled in Xorg.conf (rather than the traditional VideoOverlay) in order to support Xv accelerated video playback.


  1. Add tweaks as needed:
  2. Restart X, if it doesn't work, you can use the "vesa", "ati", "radeon" or "radeonhd" driver in the mean time, until you make it work.
  3. If you downgraded X to make fglrx work: enter synaptic, make sure all packages with "xorg" and "x11" are locked so that you can update and upgrade without worries.

Done! Now run amdcccle, glxgears, warsow etc :)


Mesa drivers

If fglrxinfo reports that Indirect rendering by Mesa is in place, even though you have installed ATI driver, you might want to remove Mesa:

  • Remove the package xserver-xgl.
sudo apt-get remove xserver-xgl
Explanation: If you installed this previously in order to make compiz work, it will not allow direct rendering on your display. You can check out if this is what it causing the problem by running
DISPLAY=:0 glxinfo | grep render
If it returns an ATI renderer, it means that xgl is being displayed indirectly on the display 1. (Taken from [1])
Warning: This might make your compiz stop working as it is configured to use XGL. A solution might be to run the Envy script in order to configure compiz. Or, if Compiz stopped working due to "Composite" problem, check that the following is set in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Enable"

  • Check for AGP and DRI errors in /var/log/Xorg.0.log like these are:
(EE) fglrx(0): [agp] unable to acquire AGP, error -1023
(EE) fglrx(0): cannot init AGP
(EE) fglrx(0): atiddxDriScreenInit failed, GPS not been initialized.
(WW) fglrx(0): * DRI initialization failed! *
If you have Intel 8285P and E7205 chipsets and AGP not detected then you have to remove the i82875p_edac module and restart a some others:
rmmod i82875p_edac
rmmod fglrx
rmmod intel-agp
rmmod agpgart
modprobe agpgart
modprobe intel-agp
modprobe fglrx
Blacklist the modules e7xxx_edac so it doesn't start up again when booting - add the following line at the beginning of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist:
blacklist i82875p_edac
This has been known to fix issues with -Mesa -AGP -DRI -Google earth and -suspend to RAM (s2ram).

  • Check you are running the correct kernel.
Explanation: If you're upgrading from Gutsy to Hardy in some instances the Grub bootloader does not get updated and the new kernel is not loaded.
Run in a terminal:
uname -r
If the output starts with 2.6.22 or below you are not using the current kernel and the Ati drivers will not load properly.

If this doesn't help, try Ubuntu Gutsy Installation Guide#Verifying, or other links: [2], [3], [4].

Hang at logout

If you experience hangs when logging out (of X) it is probably due to the /etc/ati/ script looking for X authorisation files in the wrong place when it starts up. You can kill the hanging processes from a console tty to allow the shutdown of the X server. This can be fixed permanently with:

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xdm/authdir
sudo ln -s /var/run/xauth /var/lib/xdm/authdir/authfiles

If that doesn't work then you can disable atieventsd with this command:

sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f atieventsd remove

Before the above commands verify that /etc/ati/ exists after build and install, if not just do : (assuming that the installer is in your home directory)

sh --extract driver
sudo cp ~/driver/packages/Ubuntu/dists/jaunty/replacements/ /etc/ati/

(jaunty is to be replaced by the name used at the building stage (intrepid,hardy,8.10,8.04,etc...)

sudo chmod +x /etc/ati/

just reboot login and ctrl+alt+backspace to try


Suspend hibernation works with the latest driver.

For ATI X1400, to get the laptop to wake up from suspend, I had to change the following in /etc/default/acpi-support:



Comment: This is a little surprising, since the comments at the beginning of /etc/default/acpi-support seem to make it quite clear that those settings are ignored unless you add "acpi-support" to SUSPEND_METHODS. --Bewst 23:22, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

For Radeon 3200, to wake up from suspend, I had to add the following lines to /etc/X11/xorg.conf: (This settings is not good option, if you are using compiz-fusion or any other transparency-based thingie. Not working for HD 3850)

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Disable"

Section "ServerFlags"
Option "AIGLX" "off"

Can't remove fglrx with dpkg

If dpkg really-really refuses to remove an older fglrx-package, it might be needed to edit /var/lib/dpkg/diversions and remove a few lines. This is a hack and should be avoided.

This module/version combo is already installed

If you get this error-message, simply uninstall the previous version before installing the new one with:

Terminal Command

sudo dkms remove -m fglrx -v 8.522 --all

New kernel installed?

I found out that when getting a new kernel the fglrx kernel-module is not installed for your new kernel. You can do that by these simple steps:

Terminal Command

sudo dkms build -m fglrx -v 8.552 -k `uname -r`
sudo dkms install -m fglrx -v 8.552 -k `uname -r`

if amdcccle doesn't work and says Identifier is not a valid word. Use lower case letter in xorg.conf

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