Saturday, October 27, 2007

New ATI fglrx Driver 8.42

I, like many of you, was really excited that ATI released a new driver that allowed AIGLX support. AIGLX allows you to run Beryl, Compiz or Compiz-Fusion without XGL. Intel and NVIDEA users have been able to do this for over a year. I have an EVGA 7600GT in my desktop and AIGLX is a pleasure to run. Unfortunately, the driver came out too late to be included as the default ATI driver in Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. You can compile the driver yourself.

I couldn't get the 8.42 driver to work for me after multiple attempts. I was willing to keep on trying until I get this e-mail from a reader named Christopher:

"hibernate/suspend does not work with the new 8.42.3 ati driver. Andfor anyone reading this, i've installed the new driver and though it isa great step forward, i'd stick with the xgl setup in gutsy. The newdriver does eliminate the need for xgl, but its much slower, and notworth it. I eventually took it out, and reverted back to the old setup,trust me its dog slow, you dont want it just yet. Give these guysanother 6 months and maybe well have a decent ati driver by then."

I think I'm going to use the repo ATI driver this release. XGL isn't pretty, but it's relatively fast and does work. I'd love to hear if any of you got the 8.42 driver working and any impressions you have regarding it's performance. For now, I'm going to use XGL for my Compiz-Fusion needs.

edited by pHreaksYcle


Ronald said...

I could get it to work on Feisty but I've tried on Gutsy and just can't get it, I don't know why I've made so many steps and read so many guides but it doesn't works... when was running on Feisty it worked really good, not so slow as your friend says, I really loved just couldn't believe I was running Quake over my ATI / Compiz =O ..... I hope I can get an answer for this (our) problem... bb good day.

Amaury said...

Red - Did you change the font for your webpage? it was so much better before. :) Cheers, and thanks for the heads up.


redDEAD said...

yeah i did change the font. I'm sorry you preferred the old font, but I'm keeping the changes.

Christopher said...

If anyone wants to install the new ati driver(though i dont recommend it), i found doing a fresh install was the easiest way to get it working under gutsy. Then on the ubuntu forums theres a hundred ways to install it, and there all about the same. But make sure you dont enable the ati driver whatever you do. Even after the new 8.42.3 is installed, your restriced drivers manager will tell you that a driver is in use. It will also give you the option to check off the driver box. Dont do that unless you want to raise hell with your system.

Amaury said...

Hey Red - I just installed the 8.42.3 drivers, using the manual way from the wiki.cchtml site, (downloaded the RUN file and made it into deb, etcetera.) And edited two sections of the Xorg.Conf after aticonfig --initial and aticonfig overlay command,

which were "Composite" to "Enable" and "AIGLX" to "On", rebooted system, works like a charm. Even faster than XGL Session.

No issues at all, as opposed to Ronald.

Amaury said...

By the by - I was hearing some clicking from my hard drive (an 80 gig which came from Dell), and I found the solution - the clicking absolutely stopped:

sudo hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda

Basically disables APM, which made the clicking go away. You ever hear of this before Red? -

The link where I found it:

Anatoliy said...

ATI promissed to do a release with SLUB support in a month(which is why hibernate/suspend is not working). AIGLX with this driver is slower then XGL, but does the job - will stick with it.

Installed using this guide steps from 3
(just removed xgl and ATI driver and rebooted, then followed from step 3)

hibernate/suspend issue could be fixed by recompiling kernel with old SLAB memory allocator or downgrading to 2.6.20 kernel from feisty

redDEAD said...

Some people say they hear a clicking, some people say they don't. I myself haven't noticed that the problem, but I replaced the HD that Dell gave me.

Cesar said...

I got it running with help from the ubuntu forums "Ati Driver Install for Dummies". I also can verify that no suspend or hibernate working with this either. And I would say it was only 99% stable on my 1501, one or two quirks I noticed. Some great ATI drivers are just around the corner though....

Guram said...


Please don't bother installing this drivers.
Yeah, I've installed them, and they are painfully slow and still very buggy. This drivers caused visual anomalies, some artifacts on my screen! At first I though it was video cards fault, but then I uninstalled this drivers and it worked just like it was before :) AIXGL is not worth it. Yeah, It really bothers me to switch from XGL to failsafe everytime I want to play my games, but speed and stability is more important for me than that

Oh Hey Red,
I decided to try Linux after I found your blog. It is truly amazing! It halped me so much best blog I ever seen! :)
Thankyou very much.

Igor said...
It's mine howto to install drivers on Ubuntu, but it's on russian :) Sorry, no time to translate.
Regards, Samael.

Nightstudies said...

Thanks for the warning.

I can confirm that my machine would not hibernate under fglrx.

I installed and then uninstalled the driver without a hitch, just by clicking a box in the "restricted driver manager". Which I find confusing since I didn't have an internet connection at the time, that means that this restricted driver was included on the Gutsy DVD - I thought they weren't allowed to include restricted drivers.

Anyway my DELL now hibernates and suspends perfectly, thank you!

You might be interested to know that I'm running the 64 bit AMD build without a problems on DELL's business version of the 1501 (called the vostro 1000).

By the way, a saleman at DELL confirmed that the Vostro 1000 is the Inspiron 1501. The differences are that it comes only in black (with shiny specles) and it's about $100 cheaper ($200 cheaper if get the insurance). They keep changing the prices though. They use slightly different versions of the processors to confuse you, but that just means that the clock speed of each choice is 100mhz different than the choices in the inspiron - they're the same processors.

Here is my gutsy 64 amd installation story:

In installed a dual boot with XP. From prior experience, I knew that using gparted to partition the disk causes problems with Ghost 10 in Windows. The explorer extension crashes - it's an unnecessary extension, but uninstalling it is hard.

Anyway I partitioned with Partition Magic instead, and let Partition magic format ext2 and linux swap.

Then I used the text install, because the graphical version of the the installer (at least on previous versions) doesn't allow you to install in pre-existing partitions - and is full of bugs that make you go back and forth over and over trying to specify mount points, and tearing down and rebuilding the new partitions.

Anyway the text-install worked fine with no hiccups.

For some reason it locked up during the first boot, but after rebooting once in repair mode (and not doing anything) it was fine after that.

Because I knew I needed full wireless support (for WPA2), I'm using ndiswrapper instead of the bcm43xx-fwcutter since I had heard that fwcutter isn't complete. Both would be painful installs but ndiswrapper is pretty intimidating.

There were a problems but they weren't related to being the 64 bit build:

1. the network applet claims to support WPA2, but entering a password in that box doesn't work. Note that since it's a 64 character password in a obfuscated field, you would have to cut and paste.. But in any case it doesn't work. You have to follow the steps from this thread and manually set up etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and etc/network/interfaces. I also had to restart the machine because the command line wpa_supplicant start didn't work for some reason.

Beyond that, I wanted to back up the installation after so much work getting the network up, and it looks like mondoarchive is the only program that will backup to DVD. Ghost 2003 is supposed to work, but it crashes on boot on this machine.

But mondoarchive DOES NOT work to DVD out of the box because of a security feature. It points to the incomprehensible growisofs man page which gives a script that is too incomplete to work, and I don't know how to finish it...

I got mondoarchive working, after 8 hours of frustration by running nautilus under sudo and changing the user and group of growisofs to be my user instead of root.

But I wonder if it's really working because doing a compare on the disk vs. the archive shows, of all things that the backup of fglrx.ko and nvidia.ko don't match what's on the hard drive. How could those have changed?

Nightstudies said...

By the way, you can apparently fix the problem without losing any features if you recompile the kernel to use the tried and true SLAB allocator, instead of the newer SLUB one.

See here:

I wonder what you do different to build a 6 bit version of the kernel.

Amaury said...

your blog in russian - really helpful.
You should check mine in Portuguese - No time to translate though. Cheers.

Ken said...

Suspend and hibernate have never worked for me... even after I downgraded my BIOS to 1.7. Ah well.

I have the ATI 8.42 driver running right now. It seems to work fine.

What didn't work fine was the broadcomm driver that gutsy installed. I ended up going back to ndiswrapper, and probably won't mess with it again. It runs my wifi card just as well as my vista partition (on the RARE occassion I boot it up.... too bad I can't run quicken on linux).

Nightstudies said...

I should probably have made the context clearer.

You can fix the hibernate suspend problem with the fglrx driver by recompiling the kernel to use the SLAB allocator instead of the new SLUB one.