Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fedora 7 and ATI binary drivers. An Ugly Hack.

There is a known problem with the recently released Fedora 7 and ATI video cards.
  • Most recent driver (version 8.37.6) causes X server to segfault
  • Older drivers do not support new Xorg versioning system (server reports 1.3 and driver expects >7)
  • Xorg open source ATI drivers do not have support for anything past Radeon 9250 (due to ATI not disclosing specs)
  • Xorg VESA driver doesn't support either 3D acceleration or multi screen and is generally rather slow
All this caused Michael Larabel (who seems to know most about the state of ATI drivers for Linux) to warn people not to upgrade to Fedora 7 just yet.
So, what do you do, if you already upgraded (like me)? Well, if you have single monitor and don't play games much, you can probably live with VESA driver.
Otherwise you can temporarily downgrade your X server to the supported version. Here is a short HOWTO:

  1. Login as root
    su -

  2. Add freshrpms repository
    rpm -ivh
  3. Install ATI proprietary drivers
    yum install ati-x11-drv

  4. Start ATI even daemon
    service atieventsd restart

  5. Download and install old version of Xorg server
    rpm -U --force xorg-x11-server-Xorg-1.2.0-6.fc7.x86_64.rpm
  6. Uninstall newer Xorg server
    rpm -e xorg-x11-server-Xorg-
  7. Prevent YUM from upgrading Xorg again
    sed '/metadata/aexclude=xorg-x11-server-Xorg*' /etc/yum.conf
  8. Configure Xorg to use ATI drivers using aticonfig
    1. CTRL-ALT-F1 to switch to console and login as root
    2. telinit 3
    3. aticonfig --initial for single monitor or aticonfig --initial=dual-head for dual monitors
    4. telinit 5
This is it. At this point you should have proper, 3D accelerated setup.
Most of the directions I have taken and adapted from this thread at

Update: There is a new release of the ATI drivers that works with Xorg 7.3 (somewhat). It is packaged by both freshrpms and livna and therefore there is no need to downgrade the X server anymore


  1. And all who got motherboards based on 690G chipset and want to use integrated video are screwed royally:

    1. Fedora 7 is the only distro known to me so far that actually installs and works on 690G based mobo. This is most likely due to F7 having most up to date kernel and addressing some libata issues and possibly others related to a new chipset. So far so good.

    2. the only hope for integrated video to work was ATI's proprietary driver 8.37.6 as it is suppose to be the first one supporting this IGP. It fails miserably as it insists on presence of and F7 comes

    Some claim ATI drivers are better then NV. Maybe. But until ATI works out a clean way to build a functional driver on pretty much any *x installation I will stay away from ATI.

  2. Yes, F7 seems to have the most updated (2.6.21) kernel. And traditionally Fedora and RHEL add a lot of hardware compatibility patches to their kernels. As far as driver requiring I would suggest installing compat-libstdc++-33.i386. According to the file list, it contains /usr/lib/ As far as I know nobody in their right mind claims ATI drivers are better than Nvidia, the 3D is MUCH slower with ATI than under windows, support for new kernels is inconsistent, there are crashes and bugs etc.

  3. I am wrestling with version 8.38.6 of the ATI drivers, and it doesn't appear any better. I wonder what kind of build system they are using that uses libstdc++-5.0. I fired off an angry email to them, AMD/ATI seem to have their nose firmly up MicroSoft's backside. I am already in the process of migrating from AMD powered machines to Intel, after 15 years of encouraging family and friends to buy AMD. This Turion powered laptop has to last me for a while right now though. We have four desktops and two laptops in our home, all 64-bit machines so none are very old.

  4. Yes, unfortunately 8.38.6 are also broken. Don't know when this will be fixed, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. So far I am running on a downgraded Xorg server.

  5. ATI/AMD sucks. After many years of support i am switching to Nvidia/Intel

  6. Whats about downloading the current driver on ATI/AMD Website?
    Is the new driver 8.40.4 working on FC7 x86_64?

  7. If you taker a look at the update at the bottom of the post, you will see that there are working drivers. The problem so far is that they leak memory, crash X server randomly and have abysmal 3D performance. AMD promised to deliver better drivers some time soon though. We will see.

  8. download driver for radeon 9250 windows vista...

    haha gotta love Windows......