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How to Install ATI/AMD Catalyst Linux Driver 11.6 in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal?

When it comes to VGA cards... Nvidia and ATI are the dominating manufactures of GPUs (graphical processing unit). Unlike with a CPU where you don't have to install any "driver" since the operating system (GNU/Linux, MS Windows, etc) Kernel contains optimized drivers by default... a GPU can be a bit tricky.

Although Intel has a long range of their own GPUs which are also quite powerful but still when comparing with the ATI and Nvidia, they're slightly behind. But one thing about the Intel graphic cards is that, unlike with Ati/Nvida, Intel has a bit of an open minded approach.

This is because they give a lot of information about the architecture of their GPU, etc for Kernel developers which enable the GNU/Linux Kernel developers to easily embed and create GPU/VGA drivers of their own without having to depend on Intel for updates and bug-fixes.

Unfortunately this not is the case with ATI and Nvidia drivers since they refuse to give information regarding the GPU structure, etc which is an essential if you want to embed their GPU support to the GNU/Linux Kernel.

And as a result, now if you want the optimum performance from your ATI/Nvidia GPU (which you should since Unity and other desktop heavily use the 3D acceleration of your GPU), then we have to wait till the manufactures fix them.


Enough "complaining", lets get busy.

Now recently AMD/ATI released a new update to their Catalyst Linux "version" which makes it now the 11.6. If you use Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, you can install the Catalyst 11.6 quite easily by following the below steps.

Trying to be "friendly" ;-)...

1. First we have to download the driver it self. So open your Terminal and enter the below command.
 cd ~/; mkdir catalyst11.6; cd catalyst11.6/

 wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/ati-driver-installer-11-6-x86.x86_64.run
 chmod +x ati-driver-installer-11-6-x86.x86_64.run
2. Now lets create an executable .deb package by entering the below command in your Ubuntu Linux Terminal.
sudo sh ./ati-driver-installer-11-6-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/natty
3. Finally issue the below command which should install it in Natty (hopefully :P).
sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb
Now we have successfully installed the AMD/ATI Catalyst GPU driver in Ubuntu 11.04!. See, how easy it is learning to use Linux, fast! :D.

Update: although this may not be necessary for all the users but after the installation you may also want to run the below command to update the X.org file (the one that's behind the most basic GUI windows system known as X-Windows in GNU/Linux). As said, most wouldn't need it.
sudo aticonfig --initial -f 

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. This was incredibly helpful!! :)

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

Glad it helped you... :).

Orodben said...

I've tried with several distros and Ubuntu versions, always with about the same results. Artifacts with the OS driver and a huge memory leak with the ATI driver. I hoped this would have changed with 11.04, but it actually got worse. So I finally decided to try the latest driver from the ATI site, to see if the mem leak was fixed. Using the method you describe it installed but I couldn't initialize it with aticonfig --initial (you forgot that step). So I decided to do the standard sudo sh ./ati*.run. It installed with no issues, and the mem leak seems to be gone. Hooray!:) So simple. Make sure to read the release notes on the driver site. I believe the listed dependencies are provided by qtlibgui4 or build-essential.

Gayan said...

@Orodben,

Thanks dude, appreciate it :D.

Orodben said...

I spoke to soon. The memory leak is still there. I just decided to switch to an nvidia GT 430. I'd prefer Intel graphics, but that would require a system overhaul. Is ATI ever going to fix this mem leak!?
The OS driver worked great in Ubuntu 10.10, as long as I didn't run Cairo Dock in OpenGL mode. But Unity broke it. There seems to be some conflict between Compiz and CD, and it looks like Unity has the same conflict. Wierd, because it's a Compiz plugin.

Gayan said...

@Orodben,

Ahhh that's alright dude :). Sorry to hear that the issue is still there. And yes the Compiz version that comes with the Unity desktop is not that stable actually and there could be more reasons for that.

One main thing is that it's said that Canonical did some major coding changes to the official Compiz version so it'd run Unity quite smoothly I think we just gotta give them some time (like till the next release)...

anyhow I'd also prefer intel Graphics too but then the performance... shi*... ;-)... good luck dude and thanks for dropping by to say that :D.

Anonymous said...

hey dude, great article.
you should add dkms for installation before dpkg. my natty 64bit didn't had it.

except that it's wondefull.

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

Thanks man.

Anyhow, as far as I know when we build the .deb file, the Kernel module is also created...

BR said...

Loved this! I'm great at breaking Ubuntu and not to good at fixing things. This went like clockwork!

Gayan said...

@BR,

You are welcome :D and sorry that it broke your "habit" :P, lol

Anonymous said...

Ey gyz. If one were to download the x86 version instead of the x86 64 version, does one just delete the x86 64 in this command. ( i am soo embarassed to ask this ^_^)

sudo sh ./ati-driver-installer-11-6-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/natty

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

No worries dude (or dudess ;-)). Actually the driver has both 32/64 bit versions thus you don't have to worry about anything. Just use the default command and the installer will automatically built 32 or 64 bit version by analyzing your OS.

galeed2010 said...

hey folks: I'm fairly new to Linux and have just installed 11.04. I was able to run the first three command lines OK. The third to buildpkg fails. The .run file downloaded OK but I'm getting four "not foundr-" errors then "cannot open !DOCTYPE: No such file."

I've checked to make sure I haven't typoed the cmd line, even copy/paste but it fails.

Any ideas?
kdh

Gayan said...

@galeed2010,

Well it seems like you're missing few dependencies. We can either install the dependencies by using the below command and then continue

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

OR you can just forget about building a ".deb" package and use the below command (forget about the above one) instead which should do the trick for most...

sudo -s

./ati-driver-installer-11-6-x86.x86_64.run

Cavalier77 said...

I followed the above instructions. Read thru the scripts as it was goin by and didnt see any issues. But when I rebooted... All i get is the Ubuntu Screen with 4 purple dots... The OS doesnt load past that. But when I operate from USB... Unity works, which means to me that the graphic card is recognized/operating correctly. Any ideas?

Gayan said...

@Cavalier77,

If what you meant by operating through USB is using Ubuntu as a Live USB mode then it's a different question because it's a different Ubuntu installation, if I understand you correctly.

Anyhow it seems that the graphic card is having problems with the proprietary driver.

So have if you want to remove it and recover the installed OS then, have you tried first booting into the "troublesome" Ubuntu installation by choosing "Recovery Mode" from the GRUB menu (before the system booting).

It should bring you to a somewhat basic Ubuntu desktop (you know weird graphics, etc :D) and then use the instructions laid out in the below Ubuntu wiki article to revert back to the original settings.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Troubleshooting/FglrxInteferesWithRadeonDriver

good luck dude!...

MareZ said...

thank you very much. really usefull

Gayan said...

@MareZ,

You are welcome :).

Anonymous said...

Please help me,
I've followed the above but in the 'jockey' does not detect 3rd party

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

To be honenst, I don't know whether "Jockey" is supposed to show anything related to this driver ... but just to make sure you've installed everything well follow the below steps.

First reboot your pc.

Then open your command-line and enter the below command.

fglrxinfo

If the output contains "ATI" as vendor, and your GPU name is "OpenGL Renderer String ... if you get those info... then you're good to go as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

First of all ty for the guide it's been most helpful. However I have a saml problem. When I use fglrxinfo I get the error message Segmentation fault. Can you please help me?

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

You are welcome.

Okay... in that case you try a bit of a fix that's laid out in the driver's WiKi page. Here's the link.

http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Ubuntu_Gutsy_Installation_Guide#Segmentation_Fault_with_glxinfo.2Ffglrxinfo

Good luck.

D@rekills4 said...

Hey dude, I did all you said, I just wanna check if the drivers have been installed successfully....
How do I check that?

Gayan said...

@D@rekills4,

Simple, just put the below command in your Terminal window (btw: If you've just installed your GPU driver and haven't restarted, then you might wanna do that first.
)

fglrxinfo

Now this should give you an output containing text.

In that output there are few text lines that includes "Vendor" string. If "ATI" is displayed at the end of each of those "vendor" text lines, then you've successfully installed the official ATI driver!.

Good luck mate :).

D@rekills4 said...

Thanks for this mate....
Everything is working fine now. :)

Gayan said...

@D@rekills4,

You are welcome! :D.

Anonymous said...

Thank You!!! :)

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

No problem!! :D.

Anonymous said...

Will this work with Zorin 5.1 Based on the Ubuntu

Gayan said...

@Anonymous,

It might, just give it a try.

swikrut said...

it didnt work for me

Денис Сырбу said...

Hi Gayan, I have 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV530LE [Radeon X1600], and it seems that ati dont provide my card anymore, so I ask you if you know what to do in that cases?
Regards Denis

Gayan said...


@ Denis,

Hi,

Well, if aren't having any issues with the default driver in Ubuntu, then my advice is to stick with it.

Or, if you can find an older version of the drivers, then you can try installing them as well (the last GNU/Linux driver released for X1600 series according to the AMD/ATI was around 2009, you might not be able to install it anyway).

This might not be the answer that you really needed, but that's as best as I could come up with.

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