Configuring an ATI graphics chip for Linux


Bill Giannikos

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This guide will help you configure the proprietary ATI module for Linux, which they have named 'fglrx'. We will not be covering open source radeon module included with Xorg because it's configuration is normally handled automatically by most Linux distributions.

Important Notes

Licensing Issues

ATI provide their own license for their driver. You will need to read and accept this license before proceeding.

Installing the fglrx module

CentOS/Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0

To do.

Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (Etch)

Debian include the fglrx module in its 'non-free' repository. You will need to enable it to install this driver.

Then, as root, execute the following commands:

apt-get install build-essential  module-assistant fglrx-driver fglrx-kernel-src
m-a update
m-a prepare
m-a a-i fglrx

You can now configure Xorg to use the fglrx module by following the instructions below.

Fedora Core 6

The ATI driver is not included with Fedora Core 6 so we will need to use a 3rd party repository. Here we will be using the livna repository.

If you are not currently using the livna repository then, as root, execute the following:

rpm -ivh livna-release-6.rpm

Then execute the following command:

yum install glx-utils kmod-fglrx xorg-x11-drv-fglrx

You can now configure Xorg to use the fglrx module by following the instructions below.

Fedora 7

Currently the fglrx module does not work with Fedora 7. All we can do is wait for ATI to release an update.

Gentoo Linux 2007.0

It's very easy to install the fglrx module in Gentoo. As root execute the following command:

emerge ati-drivers

And that's it. Now configure Xorg to use the fglrx module by following the instructions below.

Mandriva Linux 2007

Commercial/Non-Free Version

Mandriva include the fglrx module as standard. To enable it, load the 'Mandriva Linux Control Center', click on the 'Hardware Tab' and select the 'Set up the graphical server' option. Now click on the 'Graphics Card' option and select your graphics chip from the list. You will now be asked if you would like to use the proprietary fglrx module, choose yes. Now reboot your system and it should use the fglrx module, no extra configuration is required.


To do.

SuSE Linux 10.2

ATI provide a set of drivers specifically for SuSE Linux. To use these, load up YaST, click on 'Software', then 'Installation Source' and finally 'Add'. In this new window enter the following details:

Protocol: HTTP
Server Name: :
Directory on Server: suse/10.2

The above adds the ATI repository to your system. You can now, again in YaST, go to 'Software', then 'Software Management' and select to install the following two packages:

ati-fglrxG01-kmp-(default or bigsmp)

Make a note that you either need to install the ati-gfxG01-kmp-default or ati-gfxG01-kmp-bigsmp package, depending on the kernel version you are using. If you are using the 32bit version of SuSE, in a console type in the following:

uname -r

This should tell you the kernel you are running and then you can just select the package appropriate for your system. If you are using the 64bit version of SuSE then just use 'ati-gfxG01-kmp-default'.

Now run the following to configure the driver to configure your card:

sax2 -r

And that's it. Reboot your system and it should use the ati drivers, no extra configuration is required.

Ubuntu/KUbuntu/XUbuntu Linux 7.04

Ubuntu now has a nice and easy way of installing the proprieraty fglrx modules. Go to 'System', 'Administration' and then 'Restricted Devices Manager'. Now enable the fglrx module and follow the on-screen prompts (you may be asked to insert your installation CD, depending on your setup).

And that's it. Reboot your system and it should use the ati drivers, no extra configuration is required.

If you do not have the 'Restricted Devices Manager' option then execute the following:

sudo apt-get install linux-restricted-modules-generic restricted-manager

Generic Method

To do.

Configuring Xorg to use the ATI driver

We now need to tell Xorg to use the proprietary module. First, create a backup of your current configuration file. On most systems it will be like this:

cp -a /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.old

Now, as root, edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file with your favourite editor. In the example below we will use nano.

nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf

In this file find the section labeled 'Module' and add the following lines to it (if they don't already exist):

Load "glx"
Load "dri"

Next, find the section labeled 'Device' and in this section find the line which starts with 'Driver'. Change this line to read as follows (it will likely currently say either 'radeon' or 'vesa'):

Driver "fglrx"

And finally add the following to the bottom of the file if it doesn't exist:

Section "DRI"
 Mode 0666

Now save the file and that's it. Reboot your system and the ati driver should begin to function.


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paul99, 2014/09/20 17:02

dy have any experience of vertrefresh and horizsync for this?

David, 2008/08/26 16:46

Many thanks for this page!

Thanks for posting this guide to getting the ati driver to work. I've beat my brains out trying to configure xorg.conf to get my ati driver to send a video display to a projector on my Lenovo ThinkPad T60p running Ubuntu 8.04. Finally I fixed the one line you gave
Driver “fglrx”
and it worked!

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Anonymous, 2007/08/18 04:39

Changing Resolutions

My E8210 running Ubuntu 7.04 works in 1680×1050 mode, however I cannot switch to any other resolution, even though the list of available resolutions is there in Preferences→Screen Resolution. Also, my refresh frequency seems locked at 60Hz. I notice some strange behaviours with this setup, Firefox has some rendering issues for example (could be tied to this ATI X1400 setup?) Anyone know how to switch resolutions? Is this something aticonfig utility can handle?

Bill Giannikos, 2007/08/09 07:05

Normally these are automatically detected thanks to DPMS. You shouldn't need to specify them at all unless you have a very old monitor/laptop.

Scott_, 2007/07/31 14:37

Horiz an vert

Any body have any experience of vertrefresh and horizsync for this?

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configuring_an_ati_graphics_chip_for_linux.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/12 03:48 by billg
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