[Pkg-fglrx-devel] Bug#516231: fglrx-driver: please describe more fully how to get the ATI driver working

Ross Boylan ross at biostat.ucsf.edu
Thu Feb 19 22:57:47 UTC 2009

Package: fglrx-driver
Severity: normal

I install the package on a new Lenny amd64 system (Xeon CPUs).  It
would be really helpful if there were more information about how
everything works and what needs to be done to use the driver.
Some specifics:

1) README.Debian says
"Further information can be found at http://www.ati.com/ -- look for
the "Drivers & Software" page and follow links to the Linux drivers."
The URL is semi-obsolete, and trying to follow these instructions led,
after much hunting, to a downloadable driver.  It did not lead to
installation instructions.  Searching the site produced only the
unhelpful Linux FAQ.

2) README.Debian says "After you have installed the packages, you'll
also need to install a suitable kernel module to enable 3D
acceleration."  This sounds as if I can skip this if I don't care
about 3D acceleration. Will the driver work without the 3D module?

3) How do I need to change xorg.conf (and possibly other things) to
get this to work?  Is it supposed to be found and work automatically?
What is the name of the driver?

4) Both fglrx-glx and fglrx-modules* describe themselves as providing
the display driver.  Huh?  I'm guessing the former provides the xorg
modules, and the latter provides the kernel modules.
  a) If that's true, it would be helpful to clarify it.
  b) fglrx-glx says you need to build from fglrx-source; is using an
  appropriate fglrx-module* a substitute for that?
  c) again, if I don't care about 3D, can I skip the modules?

5) Are the -686 modules appropriate for amd64 under Xeon?

6) For amd64 do the drivers need to be built or run in some kind of 32
bit compatibility mode?  I ask because fglrx-glx-ia32 got pulled in
automatically (along with a bunch of other 32 bit stuff), and also
because of the -486 and -686 package names.

At any rate, it's not working for me yet, even after adding 
   Driver "ati"
to my xorg.conf device section.  I got that idea from
http://wiki.debian.org/AtiHowTo.  I discovered it from an ATI
driver download page.

I come at this with some experience with the nvidia proprietary
driver; I'm guessing the ATI stuff works similarly.

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 5.0
  APT prefers stable
  APT policy: (500, 'stable'), (50, 'unstable'), (40, 'experimental')
Architecture: i386 (i686)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.26-1-686 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=C, LC_CTYPE=C (charmap=ANSI_X3.4-1968)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash

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