I have an ATI Radeon Mobility X300 and for quite some time, I've had the typical problem of GoogleEarth either running like total mud (with the open source 'ati' driver) or hanging at the splash screen (with the 'fglrx' proprietary driver). I tried for quite some time, sifting through forum posts and HOW TOs, but was never able to get it to work and eventually gave up. This morning, however, I decided to take another crack at it being that I just did a fresh install of Kubuntu the other day. Figured.. what the hell.
And it worked! I dunno if anyone else has posted a possible fix for this, and if they have, I do apologize for the repost.
What I did:
First, I installed GoogleEarth while I was still using the Linux provided open source ATI driver. Dunno if this made a difference, just putting it out there.
$ sudo apt-get xorg-driver-fglrx
((installs the driver))
$ sudo apt-get fglrx-control
((installs the ATI control panel- dunno if this is needed or not, though))
WARNING: BACKUP YOUR XORG.CONF (/etc/X11/xorg.conf)
I just saved a copy as 'xorg.conf-safe' in case I messed something up and couldn't boot back into X. Learned that lesson the hard way.
Edit your xorg.conf file with your preferred text editor, just make sure you have root permissions.
Where it says something like:
Identifier "ATI Technologies, Inc. M22 [Radeon Mobility M300]"
Replace "ati" with "fglrx"
Then add this at the end of the file:
Option "Composite" "0"
The following are also in my xorg.conf (red highlighted ones pertain to the ATI driver, I believe), but they may be different for others:
I rebooted and then ran GoogleEarth- all was well. It moves swiftly, no choppiness, and more importantly, it runs without any errors or hanging.
Hope this helps some people.