Ubuntu Oneiric Installation Guide

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The Options

Users with ATI cards have the following driver options:

  • vesa - very basic, lacks 2D/3D acceleration, and focuses on compatibility with all VESA-compliant graphics cards. It is good for starting the GUI environment when no accelerated driver is available/working, and little else.
  • ati - actually a thin wrapper that will invoke the radeon driver (or another ati open-source driver for pre-Radeon cards).
  • radeon - open source driver supporting all Radeon cards. This driver has excellent 2D acceleration and compatibility with the Linux graphics stack. 3D acceleration is sufficient for desktop effects and a nice set of native Linux games. Power management is now comparable to the Catalyst driver.
  • radeonhd - an alternate driver supporting R520-R7x0 hardware. This driver is now officially deprecated in favor of radeon. If you still want to try it, see: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonHD
  • Catalyst (a.k.a fglrx) a proprietary "blob" (closed source binary) driver designed by ATI, with 3D code based off of their Windows driver. Only RadeonHD chips are supported on recent Linux distros.

Updated Open Source Driver PPA's

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


Which cards are no longer supported by ATI? 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/10.04 (and later). 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 Oneiric (or anything later than Lucid/10,04)! !!!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.

Using Ubuntu-supplied fglrx/Catalyst

This may not give you the latest drivers, but should be safest. On Ubuntu Oneiric, this will install Catalyst 8.881, which is roughly equivalent to Catalyst 11-8. NOTE: You must have the restricted repository enabled in Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center -> Edit -> Software Sources... for this to work. After you complete the install, skip to Generate a new /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Command line

sudo apt-get install fglrx fglrx-amdcccle


You must have jockey-common and jockey-gtk (or jockey-kde for Kubuntu) packages installed. Go to the Additional Drivers Manager (System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers) and activate the "ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphics driver" (or double-click the "available driver" notification icon). Ubuntu will then install and configure the driver for you. For ocelot, go to the dashboard home and search for "Additional Drivers" in the applications search field.

Installing Catalyst Manually (from AMD/ATI's site)

I recommend copying and pasting the commands 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). or Applications->Ubuntu Software Center->Edit->Software sources->Other software: check canonical partners.

Install the prerequisite packages:

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

If you are using the x86_64 architecture (64 bit): 1. Install "ia32-libs" before proceeding!

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

2. Create a symlink from /usr/lib64 to /usr/lib[1] :

cd /usr ; sudo ln -svT lib /usr/lib64

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/amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run
chmod +x amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run

Create .deb packages.

sudo sh ./amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/oneiric

It may take a while...

Install .debs.

sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb

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

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

Minimal Config

A very basic /etc/X11/xorg.conf file might be what you need if you have a new card that's not fully supported by aticonfig. Here follows the entirety of a minimal xorg.conf file for the Radeon HD 6870:

Section "Device"
 Identifier "ATI radeon 6870"
 Driver "fglrx"

X2/Dual GPU Cards

If you have an X2 card (e.g. 4870X2 or 5970), use... !!Do not use for two separate cards in crossfire!!

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

so why doesn't it show up automatically on the upadte manager? and also why can't isn't the "check for upadtes" clickable on my 3.01 FF version on ubuntu 9.04?thanks.amosלהגיב

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, use 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


into the terminal. If the vendor string contains ATI, you have installed the driver successfully. Using fglrxinfo on a system with Catalyst 11-8 and a RadeonHD 4550 returns:

display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon HD 4550 (This line may be different depending on what graphics card you are using.)
OpenGL version string: 3.3.11005 Compatibility Profile Context (This line may be different depending on what graphics card and 
Catalyst version you are using.)

Now, try:


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

sudo aticonfig --tls=0

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.

Hardware Video Decode Acceleration (EXPERIMENTAL)

This is confirmed to work for newer RadeonHD GPU's (those with UVD2). If you have a RadeonHD 4000-series or newer, you have UVD2. To see the complete list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Video_Decoder#UVD_enabled_GPUs

sudo apt-get install xvba-va-driver libva-glx1 vainfo

vainfo should return something like the following (and no errors):

     libva: libva version 0.32.0
     Xlib:  extension "XFree86-DRI" missing on display ":0.0".
     libva: va_getDriverName() returns 0
     libva: Trying to open /usr/lib/dri/fglrx_drv_video.so
     libva: va_openDriver() returns 0
     vainfo: VA API version: 0.32
     vainfo: Driver version: Splitted-Desktop Systems XvBA backend for VA-API - 0.7.8
     vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
     VAProfileH264High               :	VAEntrypointVLD
     VAProfileVC1Advanced            :	VAEntrypointVLD

Once you've confirmed that vainfo is correct, you can test video playback. A good test player for xvba is VLC. You can enable xvba in Tools -> Preferences -> Input and Codecs. Check the box named "Use GPU acceleration (experimental)" and then restart VLC.

Updating Catalyst/fglrx

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

Glad it helped.The only thing I had to do was use low bneshtrigs settings.Personally, I'm convinced not all battery packs are created equal. I've read others who only claim 6 hours or so after getting switching the graphics chip. So, I think my battery life was more attributable to luck (got one with a fresher battery pack to start).I don't get that much life anymore, less than 6 hours now with light browsing and mail usage. An unfortunate side effect of the heat when using graphics I suspect. Plus, I use it quite a bit.


XvBA Video Acceleration

If vainfo returns an error, you may need to create a symlink:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/va/drivers/fglrx_drv_video.so /usr/lib/dri/fglrx_drv_video.so


Video Tearing

AMD/ATI claims that the "Tear Free Video" option is enabled by default, but that wasn't the case on the default Oneiric version of Catalyst (maybe Ubuntu disables it by default?). If you're having issues with tearing, make sure that "Tear Free Video" is on. You can find this option in the Catalyst Control Center under 'Display Options' or you can use the following command:

sudo aticonfig --sync-video=on

The option will not take effect until you restart X.

If you're using compositing, you should also make sure that vsync is enabled in the compositor's settings. I found that vsync was enabled by default, but here are the appropriate settings should you want to experiment.


You can enable vsync for kwin in System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> Advanced tab

Compiz (Unity/GNOME-Shell)

TODO: See if there's a friendlier way to make sure vsync is enabled without installing ccsm.

Install the compiz settings manager:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

The 'Sync to Vblank' is found in the 'OpenGL' subsection of the 'General' group

Hybrid Graphics and Catalyst

There are two basic types of hybrid designs. Older hybrid systems use a multiplexor (mux) to switch between GPU's. Newer systems (those with PowerXpress >= 4.0) are muxless. As far as I can tell, PowerXpress 4.0 started with RadeonHD 6000-series GPU's, and systems with older ATI GPU's have a mux, but don't quote that.

ATI/ATI Hybrids

As of Catalyst 11-8, switching between two ATI cards (and maybe Intel/ATI muxless too?) is supposed to be doable, though I don't know if that applies to all ATI/ATI hybrids or only the muxless ones. One would use aticonfig's PowerXpress options to switch back and forth between the integrated and discrete cards, like so:

aticonfig --pxl            # List current activated GPU
sudo aticonfig --px-dgpu   # Activate discrete GPU (High-Performance mode), must re-start X to take effect
sudo aticonfig --px-igpu   # Activate integrated GPU (Power-Saving mode), must re-start X to take effect

After switching, one would log out and back in to restart X.

Intel/ATI Hybrids

Use of Catalyst on older systems (those with a mux) is no longer supported. I have one report of switching success with Catalyst 11-6, but ATI has now disabled switching in Catalyst, even if it worked fine with older Catalyst versions. X will refuse to start and you will find this message in your Xorg log:

 (WW) PowerXpress feature is not supported on A+I Mux platform. Please uninstall fglrx driver.
 (EE) No devices detected.

Using open-source drivers and the vgaswitcheroo script may work better in this case.

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/8.841/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-4.5 in Ubuntu Natty). This should allow you to install fglrx:

sudo ln -sf /usr/bin/gcc-4.5 /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

Problems Starting Xserver

If you get a black screen hang, the first thing to check is if xorg.conf is the problem.

You can disable the xorg.conf with:

sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.disabled

Reboot and check to see if things work now.

You can reinstate the file with:

sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf.disabled /etc/X11/xorg.conf

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

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.

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 newer version of Catalyst than the one you're running.

cd ~/; mkdir catalyst13.12; cd catalyst13.12/
wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run
chmod +x amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run
sh amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.4-x86.x86_64.run --extract driver
sudo mv /etc/ati/control ~/control.bak
sudo cp driver/common/etc/ati/control /etc/ati

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 authorization 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.

Before the following 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 amd-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

This problem can be fixed permanently with:

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xdm/authdir
sudo ln -s /var/run/xauth /var/lib/xdm/authdir/authfiles

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

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

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 fglrx installs, including those through 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.

"update-alternatives: error" during install

During installation you may receive the following message:

update-alternatives: error: unable to make /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/fglrx_drv.so.dpkg-tmp a symlink to /etc/alternatives/fglrx_drv: No such file or directory

This can be easily solved by creating directory "drivers" under /usr/lib/xorg/modules/

sudo mkdir /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers

'Can't exec "debian/rules": Permission denied at /usr/bin/dpkg-buildpackage line 507.' during deb generation

During installation you may receive the following message:

Can't exec "debian/rules": Permission denied at /usr/bin/dpkg-buildpackage line 507.

This can happen when your /tmp folder is mounted with the option "noexec". The noexec is suggested by many howtos regarding Ubuntu on SSD, when placing the /tmp in memory. A workaround can be found here: [1]

Black screen after uninstalling old amd drivers

Start you computer in recovery mode and exit to root shell. Remount your partitions in rw mode:

mount -rw -o remount /

Go to your download directory and proceed with building and installing the drivers in recovery mode. All should be fine after a reboot.


  1. AMD Catalyst 12.1 Driver on HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Hybrid Radeon with Linux Mint 12 / Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric - Ubuntu Computing