Getting ATI cards to work in Fedora

Ensuring that your graphic card works the way you want it to in Linux can be a long and tenious task if you are encountering problems. This guide will show you how to setup the radeon or the proprietary fglrx driver with your ATI graphics card to make sure your card is functioning as it should.

Getting ATI cards to work

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Requirements

  • Yum configured to use the 3rd party Livna repository
  • If building the drivers using the packages directly from ATI/AMD's site, please install a few packages first:
    su -c 'yum install qt-devel compat-libstdc++-33 -y' 

 

The 'radeon' driver

Radeon is an open-source alternative to the proprietary fglrx driver, offering support for many (but not all) ATI cards including some that aren't supported any longer in the latest fglrx drivers! While it's performance may not match exactly that of fglrx, its performance is still very decent. It is included in part of the standard Xorg driver packages in Fedora, so it requires almost no configuration at all! Simply edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and in the "Device" section you will come across a line like this:
Driver "DriverNameHere"

 Change this line to:

Driver "radeon"

Once you restart the computer everything should be functioning.

Please remember that if you previously were using another driver, you may need to use the livna-config-display tool to switch back to the 'AIGLX' configuration:

livna-config-display --tui -a

 

The 'fglrx' driver

To install the fglrx driver, simply run the following commands:
su -
yum install kmod-fglrx xorg-x11-drv-fglrx
fglrx-config-display enable
service fglrx restart

Please note that for a xen kernel, 'kmod-fglrx-xen' will need to be installed. This rule is applied to all the kernel variants, such as PAE (kmod-fglrx-PAE) and so on. 

Additionally, if you are running a x86_64 (a 64-bit) operating system the 32bit libraries can be installed for compatibility reasons:

yum install -y xorg-x11-drv-fglrx-libs-32bit  

Common Questions

Q: What does transaction error with conflicting files mean?
A: If you're seeing lots of messages like this when trying to install or upgrade the fglrx driver:

Transaction Check Error: package kernel-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6 is already installed

file /boot/System.map-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6 from nstall of kernel-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6
conflicts with file from package kernel-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6

file /boot/config-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6 from install of kernel-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6
conflicts with file from package kernel-2.6.19-1.2911.6.5.fc6
[...]

it means you have been hit by the Anaconda i586/i686 bug. Please see this page for instructions on solving the issue.

 

Q: How can I test if the driver works now that it's installed?

A: Simply run 'glxgears' like this:

glxgears 

Alternatively you can also check the output of 'glxinfo':

glxinfo | grep direct -i
glxinfo | grep OpenGL -i
It should return "direct rendering: yes" and also various OpenGL information concerning "ATI Technologies" and not "Mesa".
 
Q: Help! I followed the instructions and DRI still isn't working!
A: If you're using the drivers from the ATI/AMD website or if you've previously installed them, please see this post on the RedHat mailinglists as to why it could be a problem. In short, those drivers tend to overwrite other system files which can cause problems, where as the packaged drivers from Livna or other third party repositories do not. If you think this is your problem, pease reinstall all Mesa GL and Xorg server packages to restore the replaced system files.
Q: What if it still doesn't work?
A: If you are not using the Livna drivers, then your xorg.conf may not be automatically edited for you. You may need to add this option to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf under the "Device" section:
Option "VideoOverlay" "On"
 
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