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:
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.
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?
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!