Ubuntu Lucid Installation Guide

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The Options

Users with ATI cards basically have these options:

  1. Standard Open Source Drivers Usually stable. These drivers currently have relatively poor 3D performance, but newer 3D drivers using the Gallium3D infrastructure are under development.
  2. Edge Open Source Drivers These drivers have improved 3D performance
  3. The Ubuntu Way Use the restricted-driver management system (a.k.a jockey) that comes with Ubuntu to install the proprietary drivers.
  4. Install the proprietary drivers manually Package-based install of a driver downloaded from AMD/ATI's site.

Open Source Drivers

By default, Ubuntu will already try to use one of the open source drivers for your hardware. If the feature set and stability work for you, then you don't need to change anything.

The drivers that may be used are

  • vesa Lowest common denominator across all graphics vendor, not many features.
  • ati Actually a thin wrapper that will invoke the radeon driver (or another ati open-source driver for pre-Radeon cards).
  • radeon Driver support all radeon classes of hardware - with limited 3D for newer cards.
  • radeonhd An alternate driver support R520 hardware and later. This driver is now all but officially deprecated in favor of radeon.

By default there is no configuration file (xorg.conf) for X anymore, so X will try to do the right thing.

If you run into stability problems with 3D applications using the radeon/radeonhd drivers, consider trying a more recent kernel. mainline-2.6.34-lucid did the trick on a few machines.

Installing Open Source Edge Drivers

These packages are built regularly from the X.Org git repository, so they may not be fully stable. On Lucid, using this graphics stack now uses the r300g Gallium3D driver for 3D acceleration on Radeon R300-R500 (Radeon 9500 - Radeon X1950) class chips. It's probably a good idea to use the linux kernel provided by this repo if you go this route.

To install:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update

Now you can update your packages using Synaptic or Update Manager.

Installing Proprietary Drivers a.k.a. Catalyst/fglrx


Which cards do ATI no longer support? The ATI Radeon 9500-9800, Xpress200-1250, 690G, 740G, X300-X2500 (including Mobility RadeonHD 2300, since it is really a DirectX 9 part). See the complete list here. If your card is on that list, you are limited to open-source drivers on Ubuntu Lucid. If you really need the proprietary Catalyst/fglrx driver, you will have to use an older Linux distribution, such as Debian Lenny/5.0.x or Ubuntu Hardy/8.04.x.


NOTE: If you enter your card information on AMD/ATI's driver page, it will offer you the Catalyst 9-3 driver to download. However, the Catalyst 9-3 driver doesn't support X servers past 1.5, and it will not work with Lucid! !!!SO BE CAREFUL!!! If you tried to install Catalyst on a system with one of these cards, see the 'Removing the Driver' section to restore the default/pre-installed drivers.

Restricted Drivers Manager

NOTE: You must have the restricted repository enabled in System -> Administration -> Software Sources for this to work. You must also have the fglrx-modaliases and jockey-gtk (or jockey-kde for Kubuntu) packages installed. You will be limited to the drivers for your version of Ubuntu that Canonical deems stable. This may not give you the latest drivers, but should be safest. On Ubuntu Lucid, this will install Catalyst 8.723, which is roughly equivalent to Catalyst 10-4. Go to the Restricted Drivers Manager (System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers) and enable the "ATI accelerated graphics driver" (or double-click the "available driver" notification icon). Ubuntu will then install and configure the driver for you.

Ubuntu X Team's PPA

This is an excellent PPA, frequently updated, and run by Ubuntu veterans.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
$ sudo apt-get update

At this point, you should install available updates and then you can install the driver:

$ sudo apt-get install fglrx

Installing the drivers manually

I recommend copying and pasting the commands (do not include the leading '$') to ensure there are no typing mistakes and speed up the install process. Remember to use Ctrl + Shift + V or Shift + Insert to paste into the terminal (or go to the terminals menu, select edit and click paste).

Before you start

If you have previously attempted installing Catalyst, remove any leftover files by following the "Removing the Driver" section. Make sure universe and multiverse are enabled in your repository sources (System -> Administration -> Software Sources).

NOTE: if you have just recovered your video driver from the Grub recovery mode (e.g.: because the screen was blank at startup), please read section "Aticonfig not found after installation" before doing anything else, especially concerning the part on how to switch gconf settings to "automatic", in order to detect other drivers.

Install the prerequisite packages:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++6 dkms libqtgui4 wget execstack libelfg0

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

$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

Download the latest Catalyst package.

This package contains both the 32-bit and 64-bit driver.

$ cd ~/; mkdir catalyst13.12; cd catalyst13.12/
$ wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/ati-driver-installer-10-12-x86.x86_64.run

There is a new security hotfix need as of 9/28/2010, as a Linux kernel security update broke the driver:


Note: this does not seem necessary anymore (12-nov-10) as the Release Notes for the Catalyst 10.10 states:

Resolved Known Issues Kernel module build will now function on kernels with fix for security vulnerability CVE-2010-3081

Create .deb packages.

$ sh ati-driver-installer-10-12-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/lucid

Install .debs.

$ sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb

Generate a new /etc/X11/xorg.conf file

Before you do this, back up your current xorg.conf if you have one (Lucid does not have an xorg.conf by default)

Back Up xorg.conf

$ sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

Unfortunately, there is no sure way to generate the ATI version of the Xorg.conf file. It is entirely dependent on your configuration. The following subsections will attempt to address possible (and tested) variations for their respective configurations.

Generic Config

This will work for most people:

$ sudo aticonfig --initial -f

X2 Cards

If you have an X2 card (e.g. 4870X2), use... !!Do not use for two separate cards in crossfire!!

$ sudo aticonfig --initial -f --adapter=all

Dual/Multi Monitors

If you have a dual monitor display (also known as "Big Desktop"), use:

$ sudo aticonfig --initial -f --set-pcs-str="DDX,EnableRandR12,FALSE"

This was confirmed in http://phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18553.

Force use of the new xorg.conf (if necessary)

Some people find that changes to xorg.conf don't get used by the driver. To force the ati driver to adopt changes made to xorg.conf, type the following command:

$ sudo aticonfig --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf --tls=1

Test your installation

NOTE: if you don't reboot first, fglrxinfo gives an error message. Reboot the computer and type

$ fglrxinfo

into the terminal. If the vendor string contains ATI, you have installed the driver successfully. Using fglrxinfo on a system with Catalyst 10-6 and a RadeonHD 4550 returns:

display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon HD 4300/4500 Series (This line may be different depending on what graphics card you are using.)
OpenGL version string: 3.3.9901 Compatibility Profile Context (This line may be different depending on what graphics card and Catalyst version you are using.)

Now, try:

$ fgl_glxgears

If you experience issues or a hang, you may need to disable fast TLS.

$ sudo aticonfig --tls=0

Another possibility may be to disable locked user pages with:

$ sudo aticonfig --locked-userpages=off

This option is even described in the help output of aticonfig.

Just in case

Write down or remember this series of Alt+PrntScr key combinations, just in case your screen should go black and Ctrl+Alt+F1 and Ctrl+Alt+Backspace doesn't work.

Alt+PrntScr+r, Alt+PrntScr+s, Alt+PrntScr+e, Alt+PrntScr+i, Alt+PrntScr+n, Alt+PrntScr+u, Alt+PrntScr+b

These key-presses will reboot the system safely. To remember the key-presses, remember this nonsensical phrase: "Raising Skinny Elephants Is Never Utterly Boring".

An alternative would be to hold down Ctrl+Alt+SysRq (SysRq is usually the same key as PrintScreen) and type very slowly R E I S U B. A way to remember this is by inverting the word: "BUSIER" or remembering a phrase: "Restart Even If System Utterly Broken". This would also safely shutdown the system.

Updating the Driver

DO NOT try to install a new version over an old one. Follow the 'Removing the Driver' section below to remove your existing driver, and then you can start at 'Downloading the latest Catalyst' to install the new one.

Removing the Driver

The uninstall script in the first command will only exist if you downloaded the drivers and installed the directly (rather than building packages as this guide does). Skip the first command if it does not exist.

$ sudo sh /usr/share/ati/fglrx-uninstall.sh
$ sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev* xorg-driver-fglrx

If you plan on using open-source drivers, you will need to reinstall some packages because Catalyst overwrites or diverts some key 3D libraries with proprietary versions. For more information on this issue, see this Ubuntu wiki page

$ sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon
$ sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-ati
$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri xserver-xorg-core
$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg


Build Fails and Log Shows "error: implicit declaration of function ‘compat_alloc_user_space’"

This issue occurs with more recent Lucid kernels (>= 2.6.32-25-generic). A workaround is proposed here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=9877727&postcount=10

A slightly more detailed instructions (for newbies) are here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?s=72306ca847141e035ce8bf9b28506c76&t=1576383

Build Fails and Log Shows "mixed implicit and normal rules. Stop."

If the installation fails and you find the above message in /var/lib/dkms/fglrx/8.741/build/make.log, it may be because you're using a pentium-build wrapper around gcc. See what the following ls command returns:

$ ls -la /usr/bin/gcc

If it shows that gcc is a link to builder-cc, temporarily redirect the link to point to the real gcc (gcc-4.4 in Ubuntu Lucid). This should allow you to install fglrx:

$ sudo ln -sf /usr/bin/gcc-4.4 /usr/bin/gcc

When you're finished installing the driver, return the gcc link to its original value:

$ sudo ln -sf /usr/bin/builder-cc /usr/bin/gcc

Launchpad link for this bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/fglrx-installer/+bug/555957

"Errors were encountered while processing: fglrx-amdcccle" (on 64-bit systems)

Most likely, you probably did not have the "ia32-libs" package installed beforehand. 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, use the following command, which will force the installation of all of the 32 bit dependencies, and then the amdcccle package:

$ sudo apt-get -f install

Catalyst 13.12 on 64-bit systems may require the --force-overwrite command in the above dpkg command:

$ sudo dpkg -i --force-overwrite fglrx*.deb

Crashes in WINE

For more information, see this WINEHQ bug report. This issue should be fixed in WINE 1.1.40, so you may want to get an updated version of WINE by using this PPA. If you prefer the Ubuntu version of WINE, then turn FastTLS off:

$ sudo aticonfig --tls=0

Segfault Starting Xserver

After upgrading to Catalyst 10-6 the Xserver does not start. Xorg.0.log shows a segmentation fault. Adding

 BusID       "PCI:1:0:0"

to the fglrx Device section in xorg.conf helps. For more information, look at bug #1836 in the bugtracker.

Problems Starting Xserver

Before tweaking ACPI settings, try ensuring /dev/null is chmodded to 0666. This intermittently changes when using the nano (and possibly other) editors with sudo and the group/world permissions are unset. This leads to the ATI drivers hanging on boot or otherwise. A quick and dirty init script saved as /etc/init/chmodnull does the trick for me -

$ start on filesystem
$ script
$	chmod 0666 /dev/null
$	chmod 0666 /lib/udev/devices/null
$ end script

This has been tested using Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit on a ATI Radeon HD 4830 (HP Envy 15-1060ea). It's worth noting that I had to disable TLS (aticonfig --tls=0) to get things to stay stable!

If you've properly installed the driver, but experience problems when starting the X server, such as hanging, black/white/gray screen, distortion, etc., your system BIOS may have a buggy ACPI implementation. To work around, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get to a terminal (or failing that, boot to recovery mode) and run:

$ sudo aticonfig --acpi-services=off

If this method works, you should consider checking your system vendor's BIOS changelogs for relevant ACPI fixes, updating your BIOS, and reenabling the driver's ACPI services.

Slow Maximizing Windows/General 2D Slowness

As of Catalyst 10-6, a new, faster 2D acceleration method is used as the default, replacing the old XAA method. The new acceleration code was also available in Catalyst 10-2 through 10-5 (including the Catalyst that ships with Lucid), though it was not used by default. If you're using one of those versions, you can try the new acceleration code with the following command:

$ sudo aticonfig --set-pcs-str=DDX,Direct2DAccel,TRUE

Restart X (by logging out or rebooting) to apply the change. If you experience issues and want to return to the older, stable code:

$ sudo aticonfig --del-pcs-key=DDX,Direct2DAccel

If you're using Catalyst 10-6 or later, and are having problems with 2D operations, you may want to fall back to the old XAA. This command will do that:

$ sudo aticonfig --set-pcs-str=DDX,ForceXAA,TRUE

In the last case (at least) it is essential to run it without the Xorg server working. To do so, press CTRL+ALT+F1, log in and type the following (this will close all your programs so save your work before):

$ sudo service gdm stop
$ sudo aticonfig --set-pcs-str=DDX,ForceXAA,TRUE
$ sudo service gdm start

Unsupported Hardware Watermark

This can happen if your card's PCI ID wasn't officially certified to work with a particular version of Catalyst. It does not necessarily mean that your card is unsupported, but it does mean that you shouldn't file bugs with that particular card/driver combination. If you installed the driver by downloading it from AMD/ATI, installing a newer version of Catalyst will probably help. If you installed the proprietary driver included with Ubuntu or you do not want to upgrade to a newer version, it may be possible to work around the issue by using a control file from a different version of Catalyst.

$ cd ~/; mkdir catalyst13.12; cd catalyst13.12/
$ wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/ati-driver-installer-10-11-x86.x86_64.run
$ chmod +x ati-driver-installer-10-11-x86.x86_64.run
$ sh ati-driver-installer-10-11-x86.x86_64.run --extract driver
$ sudo mv /etc/ati/control ~/control.bak
$ sudo cp driver/common/etc/ati/control /etc/ati

If the above workaround causes issues, restore the original control file:

$ sudo mv ~/control.bak /etc/ati/control

If you already have the newest Catalyst release, there is one more hack you can try to make the watermark go away. Save the code below into a new file and name/save it as ~/watermark.sh

for x in $(objdump -d $DRIVER|awk '/call/&&/EnableLogo/{print "\\x"$2"\\x"$3"\\x"$4"\\x"$5"\\x"$6}'); do
 sed -i "s/$x/\x90\x90\x90\x90\x90/g" $DRIVER

$ cd ~/
$ chmod 755 watermark.sh
$ ./watermark.sh

Mesa drivers

If fglrxinfo reports that Indirect rendering by Mesa is in place, even though you have installed ATI driver, you might want to remove Mesa:

  • Remove the package xserver-xgl.
$ sudo apt-get remove xserver-xgl
Explanation: If you installed this previously in order to make compiz work, it will not allow direct rendering on your display. You can check out if this is what it causing the problem by running
$ DISPLAY=:0 glxinfo | grep render
If it returns an ATI renderer, it means that xgl is being displayed indirectly on the display 1. (Taken from [1])
Warning: This might make your compiz stop working as it is configured to use XGL. A solution might be to run the Envy script in order to configure compiz. Or, if Compiz stopped working due to "Composite" problem, check that the following is set in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Extensions"
	Option		"Composite"	"Enable"

  • Check for AGP and DRI errors in /var/log/Xorg.0.log like these are:
(EE) fglrx(0): [agp] unable to acquire AGP, error -1023
(EE) fglrx(0): cannot init AGP
(EE) fglrx(0): atiddxDriScreenInit failed, GPS not been initialized.
(WW) fglrx(0): * DRI initialization failed! *
If you have Intel 8285P and E7205 chipsets and AGP not detected then you have to remove the i82875p_edac module and restart some others:
$ sudo modprobe -r i82875p_edac
$ sudo modprobe -r fglrx
$ sudo modprobe -r intel-agp
$ sudo modprobe -r agpgart
$ sudo modprobe agpgart
$ sudo modprobe intel-agp
$ sudo modprobe fglrx
Blacklist the modules e7xxx_edac so it doesn't start up again when booting
$ gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklisti82875p_edac.conf
add the following line to the blank text file:
blacklist i82875p_edac
This has been known to fix issues with -Mesa -AGP -DRI -Google earth and -suspend to RAM (s2ram).
Explanation: http://openwetware.org/wiki/Computing/Linux/Ubuntu

  • Check you are running the correct kernel.
Explanation: If you upgraded to your current Ubuntu install (rather than doing a clean install), you may still be using the old kernel without knowing it.
$ uname -r
If your kernel version is less than 2.6.32, it is a kernel from a previous Ubuntu installation.

If this doesn't help, try other links: [2], [3], [4].

Hang at logout

If you experience hangs when logging out (of X) it is probably due to the /etc/ati/authatieventsd.sh script looking for X authorisation files in the wrong place when it starts up. You can kill the hanging authatieventsd.sh processes from a console tty to allow the shutdown of the X server. This can be fixed permanently with:

$ sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xdm/authdir
$ sudo ln -s /var/run/xauth /var/lib/xdm/authdir/authfiles</pre>

If that doesn't work then you can disable atieventsd with this command:

$ sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f atieventsd remove

Before the above commands verify that /etc/ati/authatieventsd.sh exists after build and install, if not just do: (assuming that the installer is in the directory we used to install)

$ cd ~/catalyst13.12
$ sh ati-driver-installer-13.12-x86.x86_64.run --extract driver
$ sudo cp driver/packages/Ubuntu/dists/lucid/replacements/authatieventsd.sh /etc/ati/authatieventsd.sh
$ sudo chmod +x /etc/ati/authatieventsd.sh</pre>

You'll have to restart for this to take effect.


Suspend hibernation works with the latest driver.

For Radeon 3200, to wake up from suspend, I had to add the following lines to /etc/X11/xorg.conf: (This settings is not good option, if you are using compiz-fusion or any other transparency-based thingie. Not working for HD 3850)

Section "Extensions"
        Option        "Composite"        "Disable"

Section "ServerFlags"
       Option  "AIGLX" "off" 

Another way to get it working is to do enable Composite, but when you want to suspend simply disable Compiz Fusion. How would you do that? Easy! Install the fusion-icon package (in repos by default):

$ sudo apt-get install fusion-icon

After you have done that, launch it (Applications > System > Compiz Fusion Icon) and it appears in your notification area. To switch, simply right-mouse click on the icon and select Metacity. Your desktop will flicker and windows will dissapear, but after a while they appear again. Now try to suspend.

When you wake up again, you can (hopefully) unlock your screen and there you go! Now you want Compiz back again, so right-mouse-click on the Compiz Fusion Icon and select Compiz again. Desktop flickering again, but then voila! Your Compiz Fusion Desktop is back again! (At least, that is how it is supposed to work)

KNOWN PROBLEM: When you switch back, all your windows are on the same desktop. This happens because you switched to metacity.

Hopefully this helped some people, as it did for me! Solution posted by zwyber@gmail.com

Can't remove fglrx with dpkg (diversion issue)

If dpkg refuses to remove an fglrx package and complains about a diversion of a file, you might need to manually remove it. For example, if dpkg complains:

dpkg-divert: mismatch on divert-to
  when removing `diversion of /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2 to /usr/share/fglrx/diversions/libGL.so.1.2 by xorg-driver-fglrx'
  found `diversion of /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2 to /usr/lib/fglrx/libGL.so.1.2.xlibmesa by xorg-driver-fglrx'


$ sudo dpkg-divert --remove /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2

This module/version combo is already installed

If you get this error-message, simply uninstall the previous version before installing the new one with:

$ sudo dkms remove -m fglrx --all

New kernel installed?

In theory, DKMS should automatically install the fglrx kernel module for your new kernel the first time you boot it. Should you need to manually install it:

$ sudo dkms build -m fglrx -k `uname -r`
$ sudo dkms install -m fglrx -k `uname -r`

if amdcccle doesn't work and says Identifier is not a valid word. Use lower case letter in xorg.conf

Aticonfig not found after installation & "module does not exist" after boot

This scenario is possible when the driver installation has seemingly succeeded and is possibly related to previous use of fglrx through the Jockey (i.e. you first used drivers provided by Ubuntu but then upgraded to ones available from AMD's website). When doing aticonfig --initial after driver installation, you might end up not having the aticonfig available at all:

aticonfig: command not found

After booting you might receive X error '(EE) Failed to load module "fglrx" (module does not exist, 0)'. These do not necessarily indicate that the installation has failed completely. On command line, do

$ ls /usr/lib/fglrx/bin

and see if the command lists some Ati related programs. If they are listed but not found from /usr/bin, it is possible that the "update-alternatives" fglrx .deb installation does has been ignored. See man update-alternatives for more information about the concept and workings of alternatives. In practice, update-alternatives is supposed to create several symbolic links to the files in the fglrx directory, but it will be ignored if the alternatives for the very related gl_conf entry has been set to manual. Do

$ update-alternatives --get-selections | grep gl_conf

and see if the mode is manual instead of auto and if mesa is mentioned instead of fglrx in the path that is printed. In this case you need to

$ sudo update-alternatives --set gl_conf /usr/lib/fglrx/ld.so.conf

to set fglrx as the active alternative. You can alternatively (no pun intended) and additionally change the gl_conf into automatic mode before the installation this way:

$ sudo update-alternatives --auto gl_conf

After that, the alternatives should automatically be configured correctly when the graphics driver .debs are installed.