HomeBlogATI — the never ending nightmare

ATI — the never ending nightmare

Almost one month ago I upgraded my Debian to 4.0 (Etch).  I did that for no specific reason—I'm just trying to keep my box up-to-date as it's generally a good thing.  In this release they switched to a new X version, which for some reason is named 1.3.0.  The old version was 7.2 or something.

The version change is planned for a long time and AFAIK it has been in the X.Org development tree for 6 months or so.  But, the proprietary ATI driver, one of my primary sources of frustration ever since I bought this laptop, will only work on X.Org 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.0 and 7.1, even though it was last released two weeks ago.

I tried all sorts of hacks but I couldn't convince it to run on X 1.3.0.  If you ask me, there are 2 problems here:

  1. The X team shouldn't have changed the version number in such a dumb way.  They should have named it 7.3.0.  That would make sense.  1.3.0 doesn't.  But anyway, it's a lost battle—they did it and so it shall stay.

  2. ATI should either allow me to force loading it regardless the X version, or just update the fucking driver to support something that has been planned for half a year.

Some people got it to work by either downgrading X (not really an option for me as I upgraded the whole distro and the changelist was huge), and others by rebuilding X after changing the version in the code—which means that there's no practical reason why the driver wouldn't work on the new version and also means that it would only take 30 seconds for an ATI engineer to "upgrade" it.

So here am I with this super-powerful multi-hundred-dollars card, stuck with a slow VESA driver and no acceleration whatsoever.  Almost one month has passed and probably I'll have to wait for another 2-3 months until ATI thinks they should update the driver.

Meanwhile, my friends with cheap Intel cards have absolutely no problem and they even have AIGLX + Compiz/Beryl eye-candy desktops, something ATI still doesn't support in 2007 and, judging by how things go, probably never will.  It's definitely a great advantage to have open-source drivers!  I can understand now why kernel hackers refuse hooks to run proprietary code.

I keep saying that I won't buy another ATI product ever again, but unfortunately when you purchase a brand laptop you don't really have a choice.  Except for Linux support, they produce great cards.  But why do they make Linux people life so miserable?  Dear ATI, can't you hear we hate you?  I hate you!  F**k you and your cards.  And, did I mention I hate you?

Update: I was able to finally fix it by applying this binary patch.  I paste the relevant lines below:

sed -i 's/\xe8\xec\x4f\xfe\xff\x85\xc0\x7f\x31/\xe8\xec\x4f\xfe\xff\x85\xc0\x90\x90/' x710/usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/fglrx_drv.so
sed -i 's/\xe8\xaa\x72\xfe\xff\x85\xc0\x7f\x23/\xe8\xaa\x72\xfe\xff\x85\xc0\x90\x90/' x710_64a/usr/X11R6/lib64/modules/drivers/fglrx_drv.so
sed -i 's/\x0f\x88\x3c\x09\x00\x00/\x90\xe9\x3c\x09\x00\x00/' x710/usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/fglrx_drv.so
sed -i 's/\x0f\x88\x3b\x08\x00\x00/\x90\xe9\x3b\x08\x00\x00/' x710_64a/usr/X11R6/lib64/modules/drivers/fglrx_drv.so

Never in my life have I done something as horrible.  But it worked.  Kudos to whoever created the patch.  And shame on you ATI!


  • By: bogdanMay 03 (17:15) 2007RE: ATI — the never ending nightmare §

    What about the opensource driver (radeon module)? this one should be loaded instead of VESA. Also, this one supports compiz effects...(it works on ubuntu feisty quite well on an ati x600).

    • By: mishooMay 03 (18:15) 2007RE[2]: ATI — the never ending nightmare §

      I'd love to, but it doesn't work on my card (“ATI Technologies Inc M56GL [ATI Mobility FireGL V5200]”)...

      • By: RobNov 10 (17:05) 2008RE[3]: ATI — the never ending nightmare §


        I completely agree with you.  I have exactly the same video card.  I've been waiting for 2+ years for my Thinkpad T60p to have even a shit driver working.  Do you have any suggestions for 2008.  Is there anything new that I don't know about.  Usually I install the latest suggestions/hacks/etc recommended by the linux community and that generally results in some improvement in 3D capabilities at the loss of other more basic functionality (e.g. sleep, hibernate, general X flakiness) and I lack the time to dig into logs and etc and try every "how about this?" mad hack out.  I'm running Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10).  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

        • By: mishooNov 10 (18:15) 2008RE[4]: ATI — the never ending nightmare §

          The situation improved dramatically since I wrote this story.  It works pretty well now with the official ATI driver (fglrx).  You can get that from Ubuntu repositories, apt-get install fglrx-driver and fglrx-source and you need to compile the kernel module (you'd use module-assistant for that).

          Google it, I'm sure you'll find plenty of howto-s that describe how to set it up.

          And yes, suspend/resume works well now (still crashes once a month or so, but I'm not sure ATI is still to blame).

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2007/05/03 14:36
2007/05/10 12:52
Mihai Bazon
ati, linux, rants
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