Debian Installation Guide

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2007-11, see

As of November 2005, ATI's drivers are in the non-free area of Debian. Make sure your /etc/apt/sources.list contains "contrib non-free" as well as main. You will, however, have to build your own kernel modules.

Warning: do not mix the non-free packages with the packages created by the installer as they will conflict in non-obvious ways. Before switching from one method to another, completely remove all fglrx-related packages. Never do upgrade from one method to another directly!


Which install method?

There are two methods that can be used to install the fglrx driver in Debian. The first, and recommended way is to use the native Debian packages directly from the non-free repository. The second, which may be required for newly release drivers, is to generate the Debian packages directly from the ATI installer. Both methods are documented here. After the packages are installed, the remaining steps are common, regardless of the install method chosen.

Note: in lenny, they've renamed fglrx-kernel-src to fglrx-source (but the following worked for me with that substitution).

Method 1: Getting drivers from the repositories

Install the driver

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install module-assistant fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src

build and install the module

#:sudo module-assistant auto-install fglrx-kernel-src

After this, you need

#:sudo aticonfig --initial

This will update your xorg.conf to use the new driver. Restart for the changes to take effect.

Method 2: Generating/Installing Debian packages from the ATI installer

Download the ATI driver installer

Download the driver packages directly from ATI. You need to download the ATI installer, not the RPM packages for this method to work.

I cannot recommend the latest release so I down graded to after many crashes and corrupted screens, so far this version is better for me. still more testing to do

Build the Debian packages

Change to the download directory.

cd ~
apt-get install module-assistant build-essential fakeroot dh-make debconf bzip2 wget libstdc++5
wget -c
./ --extract fglrx
cd fglrx
cd arch/x86_64/usr/X11R6
ln -s lib64 lib
## One more link needed for 8.2
## begin 8.2
ln -sf lib/
## end 8.2 ;-)
cd ~-
./packages/Debian/ --buildpkg etch #replace with lenny or sid when appropriate
cd ..
dpkg -i fglrx-driver_8.42.3-1_amd64.deb fglrx-driver-dev_8.42.3-1_amd64.deb fglrx-kernel-src_8.42.3-1_amd64.deb fglrx-amdcccle_8.42.3-1_amd64.deb

The installer has a script that tries to clone a directory that was removed in this version of the driver. Luckily, it was because the same directory was already located in a different directory. This does add a few extra steps, but this should work for everyone. Once complete, you should proceed to the configuration section.

Updated for Catalyst 8.2/Etch

Build the packages in /var/tmp directory:

su -
cd /var/tmp
apt-get install module-assistant build-essential fakeroot dh-make debconf bzip2 wget
wget -c
sh --buildpkg Debian/etch

Install the driver

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 dpkg -i fglrx-control-qt3_8.24.8-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-kernel-src_8.24.8-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i fglrx-driver-dev_8.24.8-1_i386.deb
sudo apt-get -f upgrade
A cruder way would be just calling
 dpkg -i fglrx-*.deb 

Updated for Catalyst 8.2

Just install the newly created debs from /var/tmp dir:

dpkg -i fglrx-driver_*.deb fglrx-driver-dev_*.deb fglrx-kernel-src_*.deb fglrx-amdcccle_*.deb

If amdccle package installation fails on 64-bit systems, do:

sudo apt-get -f upgrade

Afterwards, proceed with kernel module compilation and installation.

Compile the kernel driver

Before do this, MAKE SURE you have deleted /usr/src/fglrx-kernel*.deb maybe generated by another installation. In Debian lenny this is unnecessary - it just compiles and installs the most recent fglrx*.deb package. I would assume this is the case with most up-to-date distributions but to play on the safe side you could remove any leftovers of previous builds.

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

Observed error messages


What does this error message below refer to ? It is unclear where to follow-up for this error 2/Fehler 2 message.

                     |  dh_testdir                                                                │
                     │ /usr/bin/make -C /lib/modules/2.6.11/source SUBDIRS=/usr/src/modules/fglrx │
                     │ /bin/sh: /usr/src/linux-2.6.11/scripts/ Datei oder Verzeich │
                     │ make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-2.6.11'                        │
                     │ make[2]: scripts/ Datei oder Verzeichnis nicht gefunden     │
                     │ make[2]: *** Keine Regel, um »scripts/« zu erstellen.  Schlu │
                     │ make[1]: *** [_module_/usr/src/modules/fglrx] Fehler 2                     │
                     │ make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-2.6.11'                         │
                     │ make: *** [build] Fehler 2                     
(II) LoadModule: "fglrx"
(II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
dlopen: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
(EE) Failed to load /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
(II) UnloadModule: "fglrx"
(EE) Failed to load module "fglrx" (loader failed, 7)

Solution: Install a newer C library and recompile the kernel:

sudo apt-get install libstdc++5


In Debian Lenny the compiling process might fail. This occurs because Debian downloads another version 1:8-5-1 as opposed to the newest version from ATI 8.501-1 (1/07/2008). This messes up the compiling process. If you must know this occurs because the command m-a a-i automatically does m-a prepare, get, build, install. If you do m-a prepare, build, install fglr , without get this will not happen and you can skip the solution below.

Solution: Disable your repositories temporarily just for the compiling bit. Compile the source using module assistant. Then do:

$ aptitude hold fglrx-amdcccle fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src

You can do the latter in ncurses by doing the following in order: type, as root, aptitude and press enter; pres "/" and type fglrx; you will see 3 packages select each with the mouse or using the arrow keys and pres "=" or alternatively press package from the menu and select hold. Finally enable your repositories once again.

Update the xorg.conf file (Configuration)

sudo aticonfig --initial

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

Confirm that it worked

$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: MOBILITY RADEON 9700 Generic
OpenGL version string: 1.3.5461 (X4.3.0-8.19.10)

If it didn't work, you may need to run:

# mkdir -p /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri
# ln -s /usr/lib/dri/ /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri

Thanks to Maciej Matysiak for the clear debug here and solution here.

If it's still not working, try:

# rm /usr/lib/*
# rm /usr/X11R6/lib/*
# cd /usr/X11R6/lib
# cp /usr/lib/fglrx/diversions/lib/ .
# ln -s
# ldconfig

and confirm that 'ldd /usr/bin/fglrxinfo' is pointing to the right one.

People seem to be experiencing a broken after installing 8.41 on Debian/etch. If `amdcccle` complains that does't exist, DONT DELETE /usr/lib/ LIKE IT SAYS ABOVE. Make symbolic link to (which is included in fglrx package - 14 megs in size):

# cd /usr/lib
# ln -s

This work fine for ATI mobility radeon 1400

(make backup the olds xorg.* files in your folder)

$ cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /home/username/corg.conf.old
$ cp /var/log/Xorg.0.log /home/username/Xorg.0.log.old

(add contrib non-free in repositories)

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install module-assistant build-essential fakeroot dh-make debconf bzip2

(from download the courent version of driver for your ATI)

$ sh ./ --buildpkg Debian/lenny
$ apt-get install fglrx-amdcccle_8.40.4-1_i386.deb
$ apt-get install fglrx-driver-_8.40.4-1_i386.deb
$ apt-get install fglrx-driver-dev_8.40.4-1_i386.deb
$ apt-get install fglrx-kernel-src_8.40.4-1_i386.deb
$ apt-get -f upgrade
$ apt-get update

$ module-assistant prepare
$ module-assistant update
$ module-assistant a-i fglrx
$ aticonfig --initial

(reboot computer)

$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: MOBILITY RADEON 9700 Generic
OpenGL version string: 1.3.5461 (X4.3.0-8.19.10)