Tag Archives: fglrx radeon compiz hang

fglrx problems with Jaunty

Problems getting compiz (or any other 3D acceleration app) working with your ATI Radeon graphics card on the latest Ubuntu release, Jaunty Jackalope (9.04)?

Or better yet: you figured out that you were missing ATI’s proprietary driver, fglrx, and installed it on your own (since the Hardware Drivers wasn’t giving you the option to enable it in the first place)?

If that was the case, I think you already know that the reason why you’d get a hard freeze everytime the X server was comming up is that you were wrong, and Ubuntu and the Hardware Drivers app were right!

ATI’s Catalyst drivers (also known as fglrx drivers), in the default version shipped with Jaunty, are incompatible with some features from Xserver 1.6, which was introduced with Jaunty. Catalyst drivers up to version 9.3 will not work with Xorg version 7.4 or beyond.

The good news is that AMD has already released a 9.4 version that is compatible with the new server. You can get the new version, for Linux x86 and Linux 86_64 here: http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx

The bad news is (or better, are):

  • Ubuntu’s packages haven’t been updated to include this version yet (as of the time of this writing) – so yes, you’d need to install them the manual way (see below for some tips)
  • Seems like the new driver still has some instabilities, notably when trying to use compiz with video overlay (try using totem to play a video while running a composite desktop – AT YOUR OWN RISK 😉

Oh wait! I actually have another piece of ‘good news’: Despite not having official packages for Ubuntu yet, I just found out how easy it’s to create those packages using ATI’s own binary:

# ./ati-driver-installer-9-4-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/9.04

Yep, that’s pretty much it. Install the generated .deb files and reboot the system. You may want to run aticonfig –initial if you are not confident that Xorg will automatically detect your driver.

Having a proper package installed instead of just files laying around will allow the system to reconfigure itself when needed (i.e., upon kernel updates) and it also allows you to keep your files tracked, smooth upgrades, etc – generally a Good Thing™to do.