What the “fglrx” happened?!

Posted on Thursday 4 June 2009

So once again I have discovered that Linux is no where near ready for the average user… Don’t get me wrong, it is much more powerful/flexible/fun/easy to use that any version of Windows that I’ve kicked the tires on. It’s just that free software means that not everyone works on what everyone else needs!

A case in point seems to be the graphics drivers that are available for the common user. They really are quite minimal and as such makes it very difficult to “push” a modern graphics card to do what it does best – display amazing graphics.

I unfortunately wasn’t paying attention when I purchased my new system and got it with an ATI Radeon graphics card. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, if one runs Windows, however when one is trying to run Ubuntu it becomes a pain in the butt.

I had originally wanted my next computer to have an Nvidia chipset instead of Radeon, mainly because there “appeared” to be more support for it out there. Which I admit doesn’t necessarily relate to better support, but there seems to be more of it to choose from.

So I was stuck with trying to use the driver that Ubuntu released, namely…. xorg-driver-fglrx ( try and say that one ten times fast! )

At first it seemed to work quite well, the graphics performing as I thought they probably should. But…. I rebooted the computer ( after properly shutting it down of course ) and when the computer tried to come back up, that is where the grief started…. The display was scrambled and I had not way of logging back in ( and unfortunately it had been a while since the driver had been installed – so I initially didn’t even know what had caused the problem! )

I spent a long time researching and testing, trying to find what the problem was, and then in my searching I stumbled across a little posting that was actually a bug report 367741 ( a report listing a known problem with the software ) which supposedly means someone somewhere may eventually get around to fixing whatever causes this issue.

Oh, and the solution was to completely remove and purge the software from my system… Everything ( graphics wise that is ) worked fine after that was done. For those who might want a quick answer/solution do the following:

  1. reboot your system into command line mode
  2. run the command “sudo apt-get remove –purge xorg.driver-fglrx”
  3. and reboot

Of course I only found out this morning ( as I was about to write this article ) that another hiccup occurred that may or may not have been related to the graphics driver problem…. but that’s for another day.

Good Luck!

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