A Saga: Ubuntu Linux and ATI video cards

Ever since I migrated my Warty install to Hoary (back in September 2004), and it’s X.org x-server, I’ve had to make due without 3d video.

Why you might ask? Because frankly, ATI’s drivers for my Radeon 9700Pro suck in linux. And I mean in a huge way. Not only are they 100 times as hard to install as those for Nvidia, but the support for X.org hasn’t been all that impressive. Sure, Ubuntu has had a binary package of the driver, which I could install out of apt (and which has been installed ever since I moved to Hoary), but I’ve never gotten it to work.

So today, I happen to make my bi-monthly trip to ATI’s Linux driver page, and notice that they finally have a graphical installer! I get excited, not foreseeing the horror that would await me when I returned home and tried to use it.

It starts out pretty easily, I ran the installer as root, did the config, and restarted X. Easy right? Oh no! For some reason, ATI’s installer always tells you the installation was successful, even when it never builds the kernel module. Running it again, and looking at the log in /usr/share/fglrx/ told me it was having errors. I shrugged, I’m running a kernel not supported by Hoary (I grabbed it out of Breezy a while back when I was having some issues). So, I grabbed a new kernel, with the kernel-headers, the restricted modules, and some other goodness and reboot.

I succeed in actually getting it to make the module and install it this time… only to find that it STILL DIDN’T WORK. Getting a bit frustrated at this, as I’m used to the attempt/failure cycle that installing ATI drivers generally involves, I nuke it, and reinstall the driver from apt. I kill X, hoping that maybe, just maybe it would work, the moons would line up, a rainbow would shoot out of my butt, and somewhere, a virgin would be sacrificed to Linus Torvalds.

I must have been too excited to by actually having 3d video, I failed to notice the rainbow. Oh well, I’ve a working 3d video setup at the moment, and I’ll be very careful what I go mucking about with on this box.

5 thoughts on “A Saga: Ubuntu Linux and ATI video cards

  1. Yeah atleast they are tring for your card. They wont even touch my card they are like no you.

  2. If you are still using the same card from a few years ago then you are fine. I seem to recall getting everything working on that card (TV-in included). I used the open source drivers because at the time ATI had some semblance of a clue.

    On a side note IE sucks balls. The damn text input box for this comment spans behind the sidebar and my text disappears behind the sidebar and I can’t see if I’m making any typing errors which I’m prone to when typing on Japanese keyboards like this one.

  3. Sadly the open source drivers don’t include my card, the Radeon 9700 Pro. We’re probably thinking of different cards as mine just has TV-out and not TV-in.

  4. kyle he is refering to my ati radeon orginal. That is in my desktop. It has vivo on it so it have video in and video out.

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