Debian Installation Guide

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Which method?

There are two methods that can be used to install the fglrx driver in Debian. The first, and recommended way is to build native Debian packages directly from the ATI installer. The second, which may be easier for some, but is not recommended in general, is to convert the RedHat RPMs to Debian packages and then install. Both methods are documented here.

Method 1: Generating and Installing the native Debian packages

Download the ATI driver installer

You download the driver packages directly from ATI.

Build the Debian packages

Change to the download directory. You might get some errors regarding dependencies during the dpkg process. You can ignore them since they should be resolved when you run the upgrade step.

sudo apt-get install module-assistant build-essential fakeroot dh-make debconf
sudo sh ./ati-driver-installer-8.18.8-i386.run --buildpkg Debian/sarge (or sid, etch, etc.)
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-control_8.18.8-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-kernel-source_8.18.8-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_8.18.8-1_i386.deb
sudo apt-get -f upgrade

Compile the kernel driver

sudo module-assistant prepare
sudo module-assistant update
sudo module-assistant a-i fglrx

Update the xorg.conf file

sudo aticonfig --initial

Now restart X, or reboot for the driver changes to take effect.

Confirm that it worked

user@pcname:/$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: MOBILITY RADEON 9700 Generic
OpenGL version string: 1.3.5395 (X4.3.0-8.18.8)


Method 2: Installing from RPM with Alien

Note: This is a quick guide and it needs a rewrite. But it works

Download the RPMs

This is the way I prefer but it's not the best way. Download one of the .rpm packages. Than convert it to an .deb package with alien.

alien -d fglrx-*.rpm

Install the converted Debian package

Now install it with

dpkg -i --force-all ./fglrx_*.deb

Replace the * with the version string of the package.

Build the kernel driver

Now you must change do the following.

cd /lib/modules/fglrx/build_mod/
sh make.sh
cd ..
sh ./make_install.sh

This will build and install the kernel module.

Update the X server config file

sudo aticonfig --initial

Now restart X, or reboot for the driver changes to take effect.

Why isn't this way recommended?

The --force-all parameter ignores all errors from the package system. This is necessary because there is a conflict with one package from the X-Window system. When you update your Debian system and if there is an update for the X-Server, then apt will stop the update process. Now you need to look at which packages caused the update process to stop. Go to /var/cache/apt/archives/ and than do dpkg -i --force-all my-broken-package where my-broken-package should be replaced by the package that interrupted the update process. Now you can finish updating the rest of your system as you did before. However, after this you will have to re-install the fglrx package, as above.