Ubuntu Intrepid Installation Guide

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Installation Guide for Ubuntu Intrepid (v 8.10)

The alternatives

ATI has had a poor track-record when it comes to Linux support. There are too many stories about black screens, hours of configuring X, installing drivers, angrily (and ineffectively) editing configuration files, and sitting dumbfounded in front of the computer.

AMD has traditionally been a bit more Linux-friendly, so after AMD bought ATI, a slight hope has arisen that in the future there might be better drivers for ATI-cards on Linux.

However, creating better drivers takes some time, so while the people at AMD are doing their thing, people with ATI cards basically have these options:

  1. Use the open source drivers. These are stable and nice, but currently they have poor 3D-performance, if any. If that's not a problem, they are the Right Choice™.
  2. Use the restricted-driver management system that comes with Ubuntu to install the drivers (envy/jockey/"restricted" packages).
  3. Install the proprietary drivers as made available by AMD.
  4. Install the drivers manually. This should be your last resort, and may not even work.

The open source drivers

By default, one of the open source drivers are used. If this works for you, you don't need to change anything.

These come with the X.org X server:

  • vesa
  • ati
  • radeon
  • radeonhd

The "ati" driver will automatically choose the best driver for your video card. There is no need to change it from "ati" or even create an xorg.conf file in most cases. The xorg.conf file is being deprecated.

Installing the restricted drivers "the Ubuntu way"

Restricted Drivers Manager

For most users it won't be necessary to go into installation and configuration details of the driver. Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) provides a notification saying that there are restricted drivers available. You just have to go there (Restricted Drivers Manager) and enable the "ATI accelerated graphics driver". Ubuntu will then install and configure the driver for you.

Post-Installation Tweaks

To enable hardware accelerated video on pre-R500 cards, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to include the following lines without [...]

Section "Device"
	Driver		"fglrx"
	Option		"VideoOverlay"	"on"
	Option		"OpenGLOverlay"	"off"

Note that when Visual Effects (Compiz) are active, flickering and artifacts may occur in OpenGL applications and hardware accelerated video windows (particularly with R300 chipset). To prevent this, disable Visual Effects.

Installing the proprietary drivers "the ATI way"

Download the Cataylst 15.12 AMD driver file and run the installer. People that have not had luck with the first two choices have had success with this.

Note: A number of cards, some of which were marketed quite recently, are currently in ATI's legacy pipeline. Download the final version of the drivers (9.3) for these cards here [1].

Installing the restricted drivers manually

I recommend using copy and paste. However, you can Ctrl + C in your browser but you cannot Ctrl + V in the terminal. When you have copied something simply use Shift + Insert to paste into the terminal or go to the terminals menu, select edit and click paste. This method will ensure there are no typing mistakes and will greatly speed up the install process.

If you are using the x86_64 architecture (64 bit), be sure to install "ia32-libs" before proceeding!

Make sure universe and multiverse are enabled in your repository sources.

Before you start

Install the necessary programs

Terminal Command

sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++5 dkms

1. Download the latest Catalyst package.

Download page: Catalyst 15.12 (This package contains both the 32-bit and 64-bit driver.)

Open a terminal window and switch to the directory you downloaded the installer to. (Example: $ cd Desktop)

Make sure your directory path does not contain spaces

What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for poistng!

3. Install .debs.

For 32-bit systems

Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_8.602-0ubuntu1_i386.deb fglrx-kernel-source_8.602-0ubuntu1_i386.deb fglrx-amdcccle_8.602-0ubuntu1_i386.deb

(This may fail due to a missing dpmk. If so install this first)

or for 64-bit systems

Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i xorg-driver-fglrx_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb fglrx-kernel-source_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb fglrx-amdcccle_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb

Using tab completion can make this command easier.

Additional 64-bit instructions

If you have a 64 bit install, the above dpkg command may complain that "Errors were encountered while processing: fglrx-amdcccle". This is because of a dependency of the amdccle package on 32 bit libraries. If you receive this error, issue the following command after the above dpkg command, which will force the installation of all of the 32 bit dependencies, and then the amdcccle package:

Terminal Command

sudo apt-get install -f

Catalyst 15.12 on 64-bit systems requires the --force-overwrite command in the above dpkg command:

Terminal Command

sudo dpkg -i --force-overwrite xorg-driver-fglrx_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb fglrx-kernel-source_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb fglrx-amdcccle_8.602-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb

Using tab completion can make this command easier.

Of the panoply of wsbeite I've pored over this has the most veracity.


  1. Add tweaks as needed: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=849422
  2. Restart X, if it doesn't work, you can use the "vesa", "radeon" or "radeonhd" driver in the mean time, until you make it work.
  3. If you downgraded X to make fglrx work: enter synaptic, make sure all packages with "xorg" and "x11" are locked so that you can update and upgrade without worries.

Done! Now run amdcccle, glxgears, nexuiz, warsow etc :)

I like to party, not look articles up online. You made it haeppn.