Slackware: ATI SlackBuild (ENG)

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Introduction

This wiki explains how to install the proprietary ATI drivers in a Slackware Linux distribution, creating, thanks to a SlackBuild, packages that can be installed through the installpkg command.
This wiki DOES NOT explain how to improve performance. In particular, It provides only a minimal description of how to set up the X.Org server with the only purpose of loading the proprietary drivers (a description on how to configure the X.Org server to increase performance can be found here). All commands starting with a '#' must be executed with root rights, while commands beginning with '$' can be performed by a user without such rights.

Proprietary ATI Drivers and ATI Catalyst

Since 21 November 2007, ATI drivers have changed the name and the number version. The new drivers, which were first mentioned only as Proprietary ATI Driver, are now called ATI Catalyst. Moreover, the version number has passed from 8.XX.X to 7.XX.

When in this wiki we will talk about drivers version <8.37.6, we will refer implicitly to the old driver, such as Proprietary ATI Driver, while the new ATI Catalyst have a number version >= 8.37.6, even if, for instance, have a release number 7.11.

Getting all the necessary

The proprietary ATI drivers can be downloaded from the official web site, after selecting the Linux x86 operating system (or Linux x86_64) and selecting your video card, pressing the “go” button takes you directly into the download page from which you can download the installer (which henceforth we call installer.run).
Since drivers also contain a kernel module which will be compiled directly on your system, you'll need the kernel source currently installed in the system as well.

NOTE: Drivers for x86 and x86_64 architectures are equivalent.
The installer contains files for both architectures, then It will be the compilation process and the package creation process to choose the appropriate files. This means that the SlackBuild will be good for Slackware and for Slackware 64-bit portings (Slamd64, Bluewhite64, etc. ...).

Important notice

If the downloaded driver version is less than 8.37.6, then you need to know from now that it will not work onto X.Org 7.2 server (or 1.3).

How to create Slackware packages

The packages creation follows two different ways depending on whether you use the official driver version < 8.37.6 or >= 8.37.6. or new ATI Catalyst. The first way uses what is called external SlackBuild while the second way what we will call internal SlackBuild. In both cases the two packages will be created and they can be installed by Slackware installpkg utility. So let's see the two cases saying that the program that here is called installer.run is the installer downloaded from ATI web site.

NOTE: The external SlackBuild use is not limited to the driver <8.37.6 but you can use it(and at times we will see that It's the only alternative) with all versions of ATI drivers.