ATI drivers don't function properly on SUSE 11.1

My friend and I both own a Radeon HD 4870. I have been running SUSE 11.1 since it came out and initial installed the drivers manually using ATIs instructions since that was all that was available. After the one-click came out I then used it.

I am currently running KDE 4.3 beta 2 and continue to have no problems running composition effects and such.

I have a second hard-drive which I would like to use, but when I install the drivers on it (same computer) they run slowly as they do with my fiend’s computer (he has same card). These are both obviously custom built.

I am going to assume that all the configuration messing around I did originally when the one-click was not available is making the difference since it works on my computer with that installation.

Overall, this is extremely frustrating for myself and trying to get my friend started on Linux. I understand that ATI drivers are proprietary and that could be the main issue, but considering they work on my computer (old install) and not new install…something has to be weird with default configuration that comes with one-click.

I have no idea what I originally did, suppose I should have kept notes.

I am really not sure how to figure this out and how to make this better (or if this is something I need to take up with ATI). These type of issues are what keep (even tech savvy people like my friend) from using Linux.

Sorry, if I came off a bit sore, but I have spend several weeks messing with this to no avail. Any suggestions would be great, I am quite knowledgeable of Linux and such as I am an open source software developer myself.

I took the time to gather the following set of xorg configuration files from the two hard-drives.

The two attempts at getting it working on the fresh install are:


The rest are from my working install with the one click fglrx ATI drivers running beautifully with two 19" monitors configured.


I am getting the feeling that the one click/SaX2 does not do the job properly since that is the only real difference between the two setups. Also note that the config files from the working install are generated by ISaX instead of SaX2, not sure if that is significant.

I would really appreciate some thoughts as I am free to play with the other system since it won’t affect my working system. I would like to get to the bottom of this and if applicable (it would seem) get a fix into the SUSE ATI repository.


The drivers in the repository are somewhat outdated; they reflect Catalyst 9.2 (at least they did a couple of days ago). Last week, Catalyst 9.7 came out which fixed some issues, e.g. now Dual Screen works with RandR enabled. It had to be disabled up to version 9.6 e.g. using

Option “EnableRandR12” “false”

in the “Device”-sections of xorg.conf or the X server would crash on startup.

Still, there are unsolved problems:

  1. I cannot start a second X session (using KDE’s “login as another user” feature - whatever that may be called in the English version, my system is running in my native language, of course). Otherwise the system crashes severely. Switching the computer power off is the only way out (and an Xorg.1.log does not even get created, so the crash obviously occurs at a very early stage of that process).

  2. The X server ignores whatever I try in xorg.conf to set the DPI value on the second screen to match the first one when RandR is enabled, and when it is disabled, the X server gets set up so strangely that my DisplaySize setting becomes useless. Even though the second monitor obviously works at its correct resolution (1600x1200), xdpyinfo reports incorrect values about the second screen (dimensions 1920x1440), so the DPI information calculated from that and my DisplaySize setting is clearly nonsense.

  3. The X server supplies incorrect information to KDE running on screen 0 (i.e., :0.0). Apparently, information from screen 1 (:0.1) gets used. As a result, KDE’s kicker panel is 80 pixels too short and maximized windows end 80 pixels from the right border on a 1680x1050 screen when the second screen is 1600x1200, and context menus from kpowersave, knetworkmanager or kmix icons extend below the lower border of the screen. With RandR disabled in xorg.conf and the incorrect dimension 1920x1440 being reported for the second screen, misbehaviour changes and only maximized or automatically placed windows extend beyond the right border of the screen, probably to a right border at 1920.

With a previous version, after some playing with xorg.conf all of a sudden my screens were exchanged between the two monitors, and I have no idea how this could happen. Replacing amdpcsdb in /etc/ati with amdpcsdb.default when X is NOT running(!!!) may occasionally be helpfull, but it may require using amdcccle afterwards to get some settings right again (back up your xorg.conf as amdcccle likes to change that file even when cancelling all changes!).

Unfortunately, I have to use the proprietary driver as this seems to be the only way to get at least a bit of Dual Screen. The open source radeonhd driver does not seem to support it at all, and the radeon (a.k.a. ati) driver does not seem to like my graphics card and/or the way it is configured by my laptop’s manufacturer.

Thanks for the detailed response.

I just wanted to make sure that I clarify. Regardless of the version being used by SUSE one-click, it works on my current setup, but not on the same computer…different hard drive.

This has to be a configuration issue…something the one-click is not setting up.