ATi Radeon OpenGL

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This guide will give you step-by-step instructions on installing ATi Radeon drivers for xfree86 4.3.0.

First, you should make sure that your kernel-source is installed, and correctly symlinked to /usr/src/linux (most rpms should do this for you).

Then, you have two choices, depending on which radeon card you have. Remember to kill the X server before installing the drivers. This can be done with ctrl-alt-backspace. If you use a graphical logon manager such as gdm, hit ctrl-alt-backspace, then hit ctrl-alt-f1, then, as root, do a killall gdm.

You can use the official ATi beta drivers if you have an ATI Radeon 8500, 9100, 9200, 9500, 9600, 9700, 9800, M9, M9+, M10, FireGL 8700, 8800, E1, X1, and Z1.

These can be downloaded from here. Then you must proceed to unzip the file:


Then, enter the newly created directory:

cd X4.3.0-3.2.0-3

Then proceed to install the rpm (as root):

rpm -Uvh fglrx-glc22-4.3.0-3.2.0.i586.rpm

If you receive some errors about conflicting packages, run this instead:

rpm -Uvh --force fglrx-glc22-4.3.0-3.2.0.i586.rpm

On some non-rpm based distros (such as Slackware), you have to run this:

rpm -Uvh --nodeps --force fglrx-glc22-4.3.0-3.2.0.i586.rpm

It will then install the rpm and create a custom kernel module.

Then, run fglrxconfig as stated by the installation. This should be self explanatory. Be sure to answer all questions correctly, and if you make a mistake, you can cancel out of fglrxconfig (ctrl-c) and try again.

After you are sure that everything is configured properly, logout, then login as a regular user. If you used su to become root, simply type exit to return to your normal prompt. Run startx. If the screen appears garbled, restart your computer, and try startx again (sometimes the modules will conflict with each other).

If startx works successfully, run glxgears in a terminal, like xterm.

$ glxgears

You should be getting over 1000fps. If you are still not sure if your acceleration is working properly, run glxinfo. There should be a line saying Direct rendering: yes (if it worked) or Direct rendering: no (if it didn't). If it didn't work, check your xfree86 log file.

An alternative driver for you to try is the DRI. It supports radeons up to Radeon 9200. It does not have S3TC support, so some games that use this (ut2003 for example) will run very slow, or not run at all.

First, extract the bz2.

tar -xvjf radeon-20030730-linux.i386.tar.bz2

Then, enter the newly extracted directory.

cd dripkg

The installation script for DRI makes the drivers extremely easy to install.


The script should be self explanatory.

When you're done with the script, you need to edit your XF86Config file. As root, edit the file with your favorite text editor (i use pico). Go to the Module section and make sure

Load "glx"

Load "dri"

Are listed.

Then, at the end of the file, add these lines:

        Section "DRI"

            Mode 0666


Make sure both agpgart and radeon are loaded.

modprobe agpgart
modprobe radeon

Then startx. If you get a garbled screen, try restarting your computer. Then, inside the x server, run glxinfo to make sure that Direct rendering: yes. You can run glxgears as a test. For more help with the DRI, look at this guide.

I hope that this guide helps!

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what an excellent guide... good work syscrash!!


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Nice one. If I ever get an ATI card, I'll make sure to give this another read.

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lol it fuxored my slackware so i had to format since im still nto good enough to solve all problems!


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In my opinion, Kernel source should be included in every installation option and you should have to manually deselect it if you don't want it. But if that fails, you can always download it from, which is better really. Keeps you away from those nasty generic kernels.

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What do you guys think of the Linux driver support for ATI cards? I was all set on getting a R9800 Pro until I read how bad it was. I currently have an nVidia card and am now starting to look at a GF FX5900 instead.

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An excellent guide and very thorough. Thanks for contributing syscrash2k (Y)

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Running Slackware 9.1. Followed the guide except it didn't install because of a "Segmentation fault"??? Now X won't load at all.. can anyone help?

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