distro: Debian Sarge
kernel: WAS 2.4.27-2-k7. This bugger may have been my whole problem
Of course I downloaded the .run file from ATI. Opened a terminal window, switched to root, cd'd over to the file and ran it " ./ati-driver-installer-8.18.6-i386.run ". There were "purdy" graphics including ATI's 'Tux' that popped up for moral support. Selected <AUTOMATIC>, agreed to whatever came up. I even ran (in the same terminal window) the " fglrxconfig " which sets up all the goodies. Logged out of GNOME, rebooted. *twiddled thumbs*. Got back into GNOME desktop, opened another terminal window. Ran " fglrxinfo " and prepared to congratulate myself on getting 3d acceleration working under this pain in the 455 distro that's plagued my mind for three weeks.
Imagine my disappointment when those friggin "MESA" drivers showed up and not my anticipated ATI drivers.
This is where it gets fuzzy, but I tried a number of things up to and including " dpkg-install --force-all fglrx-4-2-0_8.16.20-2_i386.deb " (making this bugger nearly screwed up my entire install
; thankfully I made backups of both the XFree86Config-4 and what I think was libGL.so.1.2 -- a file I believe to be the MESA driver that had the same name as the one ATI wanted to place there....). So after getting no screens then no corepointers I restored those files and ran " dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 ". *sigh*
cp XFree86Config-4 XFree86Config-4.before.screwing.up.with.ATI
cp libGL.so.1.2 libGL.so.1.2.before.screwing.up.with.ATI)
So I thought 'maybe I should try a newer kernel'. So on next reboot I used 2.6.8-k7. I went into the GNOME desktop, opened terminal, su to root, cd'd to the same place where the .run was and executed it. SAME thing -- AUTOMATIC, etc. But this time once it was done I closed the terminal, HIT <CTL> <ALT> <BACKSPACE> and then *I THINK* <CTL> <ALT> <F1>. From what I belive is a non-X console window I then ran " fglrxconfig " (or was it dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86?) and on the non-purdy console input all my goodies. (Note to self: /dev/mouse worked nicely to preserve both my wheel ps/2 and usb Microsoft Trackball Explorer).
Back into the GNOME world. New terminal window. Entered " fglrxinfo ". Imagine my sense of accomplishment when I saw this:
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: RADEON 9800 Pro Generic
OpenGL version string: 1.3.5395 (X4.3.0-8.18.6)
Of course to test this I played a round of UT2004demo. I used to be much better....
Hope this helps another n00b