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Thread: ati graphics driver problem?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Phuket, Thailand
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: ati graphics driver problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by sveinki View Post
    ....I tried both sax2 --initial and sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx to start sax, as used to work for me (some time ago, my memory is not perfect, upgrades have been automatic and painless for more than a year).

    I upgraded my system to OpenSuse 11.0, but no change, sax refused to work except with vesa.

    Then this morning there was an upgrade to xorg-x11, installing that, following by reinstall of fglrx drivers, I tried your method of:
    sax2 -r -m 0=radeon
    and voil; up and running. The new ati driver even has direct support for my laptop monitor (Mitac 15.4 WideScreen).
    I'm wondering whether this change from 0=fglrx to 0=radeon would have worked in the first case, or whether there was really a break in x-modules?
    sveinki, thanks for that information. A further clarification to your post, for those who don't understand the difference between vesa, fglrx, or radeon/radeonhd.

    Vesa is a graphic standard that most video cards support. Hence if one does not have a driver to use the full performance proprietary features of a graphic card, one can often use the generic "vesa" driver that many graphic cards are backward compatible to support.

    fglrx is for the proprietary ati driver. This driver is often sensitive to one's kernel version, and also to one's x11-xorg version. Hence an update to one's kernel, or to x11-xorg, can break the functionality of that proprietary AT driver, and the proprietary driver may need to be rebuilt against one's PC's setup (kernel/x11-xorg) to function properly.

    radeon/radeongl are opensource drivers (also called openGL drivers) for ATI graphic cards that work with many ATI graphci cards. Typically they have performance better than the VESA driver, but not as good as the proprietary ATI graphic driver.

  2. #12
    sveinki NNTP User

    Default Re: ati graphics driver problem?

    Thanks for clarifying.
    So I'm not using the ATI drivers with sax2 -r -m 0=radeon (should have known that)...
    sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx still ruins sax2.

    Do you know if this is a Suse specific problem, or are there other distros involved? Found some discussions on a recent *buntu X-related problem.

    I can live with the mesa radeon driver for most tasks, but I checked my Stellarium app which used 3d acceleration and it's almost unusable. Unfortunately I had the intention of using it for showoff at a presentation on using Linux/OSS in a local college next week. Got to find out quickly how to display 3d and how to plug into a projector...
    If all fails, I'll find a laptop with Nvidia card then with VNC I could show my desktop.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Phuket, Thailand
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: ati graphics driver problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by sveinki View Post
    sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx still ruins sax2.

    Do you know if this is a Suse specific problem, or are there other distros involved? Found some discussions on a recent *buntu X-related problem.
    I confess I have minimal (almost no) ATI card experience. My wife's PC has an ATI card, that is an inexpensive low-end low-performance card that has always "just worked" under Linux. I have always been a big nVidia fan, and I've deliberately never procured a PC with ATI hardware, until just over a week ago, when I deliberately procured a laptop with an ATI Radeon 3450 HD. (I procured that ATI card because the alternative nVidia 8000 and 9000 series cards, plus some other nVidia cards have known quality/heat problems).

    The sort of problem where a new kernel or a new X11/xorg update breaks one's proprietary drivers functionality can happen to all distributions. But how each distribution handles this type of breakage is likely different, and some distributions may be very quick in pumping out a fix (in a precompiled driver package) and others may be very slow.

    But rather than wait for a pre-compiled package, I suspect it is possible to rebuild the driver in openSUSE (but I do not know for certain in your case).

    There is guidance here on how to build one's driver for one's PC:
    ATI - openSUSE

    After rebuilding one's driver, then the "fglrx" should work.

    If that does not work, then this is not an easy fix, and it impacts all distributions equally, and all distributions will need to wait for an ATI fix.

  4. #14

    Default Re: ati graphics driver problem?

    The only time I have been unable to get some method of installing ATI drivers to work, has been when I had a kernel version that was too new to have kernel source packages available for it, so the installer would not run correctly.

    In all other situations, I have ALWAYS been able to find some method that worked, due to the numerous options available, which include:

    1. Repo drivers installed through a YAST / Software Management search for "fglrx" after the ATI repo has been added in YAST / Repositories / Community Repositories.


    2. Running the latest installer:

    ATI Catalyst™ 8.11 Proprietary Linux x86 Display Driver

    using these instructions:

    to install via the "automatic" method, after the following dependencies have been installed:
    System Recommendations

    For best performance and ease of use, AMD recommends the following:

    * Kernel module build environment - should include the following:
    o Kernel source code: Either the Kernel Source or Kernel Headers packages
    * ISSE Support enabled in your Linux Kernel
    o Applies to Intel Pentium III and later CPUs only
    o Enabled by default on version 2.4 and later kernels
    * The rpm utility should be installed and configured correctly on your system, if you intend to install via RPM packages

    The following packages must be installed in order for the Catalyst™ Linux driver to install and work properly:

    * XFree86-Mesa-libGL
    * libstdc++
    * libgcc
    * XFree86-libs
    * fontconfig
    * freetype
    * zlib
    * gcc
    3. Running the latest version of the installer using the "RPM generator" option and then creating a new repository where the RPM file is located in YAST / Repositories / Add / Local Directory.

    4. Downloading the PREVIOUS version of the installer from the ATI site:

    Previous Radeon Series/Motherboard/Notebook Display Drivers for Linux x86

    and running the installer using the "automatic method".

    5. Downloading the PREVIOUS version of the installer and using it to generate an RPM and installing the RPM as described above.

    6. Downloading the next older version of the installer, and so on.

    So from my experience, it has been largely patience that has worked in getting ATI drivers to work, that and being extremely cautious about updating my kernel.

    Also, keep desktop effects turned off until you get your card properly configured, and be ready to turn them off at the first sign of trouble.

  5. #15

    Default Re: ati graphics driver problem?

    Also, there is one other reason why the ATI driver may not work that I should mention, namely if your card is not supported. In general, cards that are older than the the 9500 series are not supported. Also, very new cards are sometimes not supported, If in doubt, check the release notes for the driver.

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