Some General Advice regarding ATI fglrx Drivers

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Some General Advice regarding ATI fglrx Drivers

Postby rickh » 2007-08-05 17:18

I have posted this in the Hardware section rather than the HowTo one because I'm not really interested in helping you figure out why yours does not work. I run a 32 and 64-bit Debian system on a machine with integrated Xpress200 video. I have never had a problem with the fglrx drivers whether using those provided by Debian or getting the package from ATI and using it to build .deb packages. I must say, I get really tired of people knocking ATI and complaining about their lack of support.

This little exercise is aimed at people who don't really know what they're doing, and just want to get the driver working with hardware acceleration support; and it only addresses the drivers provided in the Debian repos. They do work, and they are intended to be used. I think the most common problems are caused by people mixing releases (Sarge, Etch, Lenny, Sid) without knowing what they're doing, but that's another subject. The commands are the ones I use. If you don't know how to translate aptitude or vim to the application of your choice, you should not be using Debian. It should go without saying that you need non-free in your sources.list

**************

1. Make sure you are running the current kernel for your release. $ uname -r tells you what you have currently, and $ aptitude search linux-image-2.6 will tell you what is available.

2. # aptitude install module-assistant build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r) fglrx-amdcccle fglrx-control fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src

3. RTFM. $ man fglrx ... That output contains a list of all the cards supported by the current driver. Make sure you find yours there. I believe some of ATI's older cards are no longer supported, and some of the newer ones may not be supported in the packages contained by the release you are using.

4. Reboot into Single User Mode. Enter the root password.

5.
Code: Select all
# m-a prepare
# m-a a-i fglrx
# modprobe -v fglrx


6. # vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf ... Find the section that looks something like this:
Code: Select all
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "ATI Technologies Inc RS480 [Radeon Xpress 200G Series]"
        Driver          "fglrx"
        BusID           "PCI:1:5:0"
EndSection
... and make sure the driver is "fglrx"

That's it. I've done it dozens of time, it takes about 10 minutes, and it always works. If you somehow screwed it up, start over ...
Code: Select all
# aptitude remove fglrx-amdccle fglrx-control fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src
# aptitude purge fglrx-amdcccle fglrx-control fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src
# rm -rf /usr/src/modules/fglrx/
# rm -rf /etc/ati
... then back to step 1.

If it still doesn't work, give up. Go to Step 6 and replace "fglrx" with "ati" The Xorg drivers are not all that bad. You can try again some other time.

Note: If your release does not include fglrx-amdcccle, don't worry about it, you don't need it. As of this writing, I think it's included only in Sid, and I still haven't figured out what it is supposed to do.
Last edited by rickh on 2007-10-05 15:37, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby radamis » 2007-08-05 22:08

Etch does not include amdcccle.

I've found turnning your display manager(gdm, xdm, or kdm) is usually sufficient, though you can't hurt anything by booting into single user mode.

You should add fglrx to /etc/modules so it gets loaded at boot.
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Postby rickh » 2007-08-05 23:45

You should add fglrx to /etc/modules so it gets loaded at boot.

I've never had to do that. I would assume that's why we add the driver to xorg.conf
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Postby radamis » 2007-08-06 00:16

You put fglrx in xorg so X knows which driver to use. X will run with the fglrx driver without the kernel module, but in my experience it doesn't have opengl, hardware rendering, xv support or any of that stuff.

To correct my previous post, Etch DOES include amdccle.
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Postby rickh » 2007-08-06 01:39

As far as I can tell, you don't know what the hell you're talking about, but ... who knows? It may be useful information to somebody.
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Postby radamis » 2007-08-06 01:46

Funny, I had the exact same thoughts about you.
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Re: Some General Advice regarding ATI fglrx Drivers

Postby vooose » 2007-08-07 13:12

rickh wrote:I have posted this in the Hardware section rather than the HowTo one because I'm not really interested in helping you figure out why yours does not work. I run a 32 and 64-bit Debian system on a machine with integrated Xpress200 video. I have never had a problem with the fglrx drivers whether using those provided by Debian or getting the package from ATI and using it to build .deb packages. I must say, I get really tired of people knocking ATI and complaining about their lack of support.



I certainly had a problem installing a 9200 Pro. 5 days later and I replaced it with an nvidia.
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Postby rickh » 2007-08-07 13:22

I certainly had a problem installing a 9200 Pro.


Instruction #3. RTFM.

$ man fglrx does not mention the 9200 series, so I'm not surprised that you couldn't get it to work.
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Postby BioTube » 2007-08-07 15:18

The version in Etch was the last to support the 9200 series and below(which is why I'm stuck with Etch's X).
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Postby vooose » 2007-08-07 22:41

rickh wrote:Instruction #3. RTFM.

$ man fglrx does not mention the 9200 series, so I'm not surprised that you couldn't get it to work.

I must say, I get really tired of people knocking ATI and complaining about their lack of support



There in lies the problem with ATI
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Postby rickh » 2007-08-07 23:49

It's not a problem to me. ATI still provides the latest Linux drivers for those cards (Currently 8.39.4), and I'm sure I could make it work. They just don't work with the generic drivers provided by Debian, which is all this thread addresses.

Edit: Oops, I take that back. They only offer 8.28 for that card which is the version in Etch. As BioTube said above, it works, and I imagine it could be built in Lenny as well.
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Postby pigah » 2007-08-08 00:30

rickh wrote:
You should add fglrx to /etc/modules so it gets loaded at boot.

I've never had to do that. I would assume that's why we add the driver to xorg.conf


Yeah, I, too, have had to add fglrx to /etc/modules in order to get opengl acceleration. i.e. I can run X with the fglrx X module (which I think is actually fglrx-driver) but without the kernel module (fglrx-kernel-2.6.xxx).
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Postby pendrachken » 2007-08-12 15:54

why even bother with fglrx for a 9200? it is fully supported with the ati / radeon X.org drivers ( the free ones...) even DRI is supposed to be supported.
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updating

Postby Guest1243 » 2007-08-25 20:18

My only doubts, specifically in this topic, concern updating the driver and uninstalling the driver. Since i'm new, i have a hard time understanding how it works, so i can understand and update my system.
Is it because the driver comes from the repos it's updated normally? Only if i install the latest from ATI's site do i have to monkey around?

Thank you for the tips.
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Postby BioTube » 2007-08-26 00:37

Using the fglrx form the repos reduces the amount you have to monkey around. ATI doesn't formally support Debian, so you've got a monkey around a bit to get it to install properly. And configuring xorg.conf is even easier than Rick says. All you really need to do is
Code: Select all
aticonfig --initial
If you've got a Radeon 9250 or below, only Etch's version will support it - ATI dropped support for the R200 chipset after 8.28.8.
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