ATI driver: which is the right procedure?

Larry Hartman larryhartman50 at
Wed Jun 6 10:14:45 UTC 2007

On Tuesday 05 June 2007 06:47:05 pm Mario Gianni (mgianni) wrote:
> Larry
> Actually this is the procedure I tried to use. Method 2. It's referenced on
> the ATI web site so was thinking must be ok. I think I had exactly some
> issues with the aticonfig commands. I have seen around some procedure where
> people say to add lines to the xorg.conf file (like disable Composite or
> AIGLX). If you can pass the right changes would be great. For example my
> xorg file has "vesa" as driver and on some procedure they say to change
> with fglrx. Shouldn't be done automatically by the procedure (like the
> aticonfig commands)?

First, print these instructions so you have a hardcopy.

Open a terminal:

first backup your file:

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg-backup.conf

Now edit the file:

sudo kate /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You will be presented a flat file that contains the settings for the X-server 
to run. It can not be edited without root permissions--hence sudo.  Look over 
the file you will find three sections "Device" "Screen and "Monitor."
When you find each section follow the instructions below.

In this section make sure that driver says "fglrx" the rest should reflect 
your hardware

Section "Device"
  identifier "ATI Technologies Inc ATI Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE) 0"
  boardname "ati"
  busid "PCI:1:5:0"
  driver "fglrx"
  screen 0

In this section ensure that the "Device" line matches the "Identifier" line in 
the Device section (section shown above).  Note your resolution settings may 

Section "Screen"
  Identifier "Default Screen"
  Device "ATI Technologies Inc ATI Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE) 0"
  Monitor "Laptop Monitor"
  DefaultDepth 24
  SubSection "Display"
    depth 24
    virtual 2800 900
    modes "1440x900 at 60"

In this section ensure that the "Identifier" line matches the "Monitor" line 
in Screen section (shown above).  Note your modeline and gamma may differ.

Section "Monitor"
  identifier "Laptop Monitor"
  vendorname "Plug 'n' Play"
  modelname "Plug 'n' Play"
  modeline  "1440x900 at 60" 25.2 640 656 752 800 480 490 492 525 -vsync -hsync
  gamma 0.65

Now add the following three sections:

Section "DRI"
  Mode 0666

Section "Extensions"
  option "Composite" "Disable"

Section "ServerFlags"
  option "AIGLX" "off"

Remove any sections that read:

Section "Extensions"
  option "Composite" "Enable"

When you are done save the file.   Also, when you have the flgrx driver 
working, copy this file to the same directory you saved the downloaded ATI 
package to in case you need it later.

Restart you computer.  After logging in bring up terminal window.  Type:


Your output should look like this--then you are successful:

display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
OpenGL version string: 2.0.6473 (8.37.6)

If it says "mesa" or "vesa" it did not work.


You need to have an exit strategy written down in case X-server fails to start 
when booting the computer:

After logging in at the command prompt type:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

This resets the /etc/X11/xorg.conf back to the open source driver.

Then type:

sudo shutdown -r now

This reboots the machine.

> I would then install Beryl. How can I check whether 3D is running fine
> then? Issuing fglrxinfo just provide info on the driver. Is there a 3d
> test?
> Thanks
> Mario
> _____________________________________________________
> Mario Gianni
> Consulting Systems Engineer
> Emerging Market AT Consulting Team
> CISCO Systems, Inc.
> Phone      +39.06.5164.4629
> Mobile     +39.335.7297636
> Fax        +39.06.5164.5001
> Email      mgianni at
> Address    Via Del Serafico, 200 - 00142 Rome - Italy
>      C i s c o  S y s t e m s
> -----Original Message-----
> From: kubuntu-users-bounces at
> [mailto:kubuntu-users-bounces at] On Behalf Of Larry Hartman
> Sent: mercoledì 6 giugno 2007 0.06
> To: Kubuntu Help and User Discussions
> Subject: Re: ATI driver: which is the right procedure?
> On Tuesday 05 June 2007 10:11:35 am Terence Simpson wrote:
> > Mario Gianni (mgianni) wrote:
> > > Hi
> > >
> > > I have installed Kubuntu on my Thinkpad T60. I was trying to install
> > > the ATI drivers but I have found so many procedure on the web that I
> > > am a bit confused.
> > >
> > > So far I understood that I can install it from the repository (as
> > > restricted driver) or download from and do the installation
> > > manually. All these links show the setup procedure. They are pretty
> > > similar but not completely the same:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > -kub
> > > untu-feisty-fawn-704/
> > >
> > > On the ATI web site there is this one which looks pretty easy. Just
> > > need to run the package:
> > >
> > >
> > > nux_
> > > 8.37.6-inst.html
> > >
> > > Can you please help me? Which one is the right procedure? Do you
> > > have a link for the right one?
> > >
> > > I'll use KDE with Kubuntu. Not sure whether there are two procedure
> > > for GNOME or KDE.
> > >
> > > Thanks
> > > Mario
> >
> > Try these official instructions from ubuntu:
> > <
> > bce34
> >0dfc3ad483abf0e18997868540b>
> The first one listed  above:
> This one I just updated a week ago when the new driver came out.   Follow
> method 2 on this website to the letter and you will be just fine, works
> with both KDE and GNOME.
> If you have problems running the commands "sudo aticonfig --initial" and
> the "sudo aticonfig --overlay-type=Xv" in the Configure the Driver section
> let me know--not a problem with the WIKI procedure, but the driver package
> itself.   In that event I will post the /etc/xorg.conf file on this email
> list that these commands automatically set up for you.
> The big thing to remember is that anytime a new Linux kernel is updated on
> your machine you must--read must--reinstall the ATI driver, otherwise the
> computer will run the open source driver at greatly reduced performance.
> When you download the package save it somewhere safe so that you can reload
> it as necessary.
> I have done this many times, and while it seems intimidating at first, you
> will do this procedure blindfolded after a while.  ATI releases a new
> driver about every month that I load manually.
> Larry
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