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Old 02-07-2005, 04:04 PM   #1
jwhitene
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About to give up on linux - ATI drivers


Background:

I'm a windows system admin and web programmer with about 10 years experience.

For the last 3-4 years, I've tried installing various linux distributions with varying degrees of success. As the distributions have matured, and as I've learned more and more about linux, I've become 'hooked' on the OS, and truly want to continue working with it.

I typically have very new hardware, which, in and of itself is probably the primary reason why I've had such poor luck with linux in general. From printers, to scanners, to video cards, each distribution of linux has caused me trouble, and I eventually give up.

Specific Problem:

This go around, I choose to try Mandrake 10.1 I have the ATI Pro X800 video card, and have been trying to install the new ATI drivers for about the last 20 hours, with no success.

I've read every thread that google can find on the issues involved, and I believe I've exhausted every possible 'fix' that people have suggested. I upgraded Mandrake's xorg to 6.8.1, I ran fglrxinfo and configured my XF86Config-4 file. I copied the pertainent device information from XF86Config-4 to xorg.conf, I changed the keyboard driver from "Keyboard" to "kbd", etc..

At any rate, I finally decided to try another distribution, debian 3.0, to see if I'd have better luck using the supposedly great dependency checking abilities of "apt-get". Unfortunately, I want to install debian on a sata secondary master drive, which the debian native installer will not recognize. After some more searching, I discovered that there are multiple third party installers for debian. Long story short, I tried a couple with no success.

Specific question:

So, if you had to pick a newbie friendly Linux distribution, with the caveat that you wanted to use an ATI X800 card, which one would you choose?


After I finally get things working, I intend to install coldfusion and apache and develop web sites at home and transfer the knowledge that I gain to our production servers at work. I recently moved from a large corporate environment full of windows boxes, to a large community college that is a mix of linux, unix, and windows, and want to enhance our organizations use of linux, as well as continue to grow my own skills in what is becoming a new and successful OS.

thanks,

Jason Whitener
 
Old 02-07-2005, 05:05 PM   #2
bigjohn
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Previously, to get away from the hassle, I always used to get "boxed set" discs from mandrake, because mandrakes easy, newbie friendly and had the nvidia drivers pre compiled/configured.

You'd have to check out the mandrake site, but I think that I'm right in saying that the "boxed set" disc's also have the ATI drivers ready to go as well!

Better still, dump the ATI and for linux stick to Nvidia, their linux support seem vastly superior (IMO)!

maybe that helps a little?

regards

John
 
Old 02-07-2005, 05:13 PM   #3
Padma
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Personally, I have never had a problem with the open source drivers. But then, I don't play any heavy-duty 3D games or anything, either.

And on my older, Radeon9000Pro128 card, I get better FPS in glxgears than I do with the proprietary driver!
 
Old 02-07-2005, 05:21 PM   #4
amosf
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I don't try and run Mac OS on PC hardware. Similarly I don't bother trying to run ATI on linux

ATI drivers aren't great. I have no problems with Nvidia...
 
Old 02-07-2005, 08:35 PM   #5
vectordrake
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You beat me to the punch. I have to second the ati sucks statement. The card in this machine is the last one I'm gonna fight with. I wanted to support ATI as its a Canadian company, but, I have to go with the companies that support me. My next card will be an NVidia too.

I know that's not much help for you, though.
 
Old 02-08-2005, 04:24 AM   #6
heema
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i have a ati 9600 pro and it worked gr8 with mandrake

NOTE : u must choose the option
Do you want to use the external AGP GART module (y/n)? [n] y

i used this link to set it up

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ht=radeon+9600

Last edited by heema; 02-08-2005 at 04:25 AM.
 
Old 02-09-2005, 06:33 PM   #7
jwhitene
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Yes. Thats probably one of the most difficult parts of this. I had my ati 9700 pro working flawlessly with Mandrake 10.0. I upgraded to a X800 card, and everything broke. Thats what started me down the path of new installations, upgrading xorg, etc..
 
Old 02-09-2005, 06:45 PM   #8
IsaacKuo
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First off--xorg doesn't use XF86Config. IIRC, it uses xorg.conf and completely ignores any XF86Config file.

Second, since your just going to use the system for web development, why worry about hardware acceleration support? If the Ati drivers are giving you problems, just change the driver in xorg.conf (or XF86Config) to "vesa" instead of "ati" or "radeon".

The vesa driver is pretty generic, but it's not completely devoid of hardware features. It's pretty good with hardware overlay for video playback, for instance.

So...my caveat would have nothing at all to do with the distribution, and everything to do with some tips on configuring the XF86Config (or xorg.conf, or XF86Config-4).
 
Old 02-14-2005, 04:30 AM   #9
jwhitene
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IsaacKuo, thanks.

However, I do want to have some fun in the desktop. Like maybe play a game from time to time.

Regardless, I do do some graphics work, as well as work with videos from time to time. So the better my graphics, the easier that will be.

In terms of the config files, I had linked the xorg.conf to the config-4 file, which didn't work. I next followed guides to copy the info from the config-4 file into the xorg.conf file, which didn't work.

The bottom line is: regardless of what guide I've followed, and always starting with a fresh install of a distribution, nothing has worked "as expected". So I was hoping someone had insight into a distribution that actually worked, as expected, easily, without spending hours trying to configure some obscure thing.

Even the latest version of Mandrake 10.1 didn't do the most basic thing that the ATI driver required: install the kernel-soure properly. It, in fact, installed a a kernel-source that does not match the actual in use kernel source. something the ATI driver requires to install. Its stuff like that that makes a first (well, ninth) timer like myself very frustrated.

So, if there is just some distribution out there that actually installs everything correctly in preparation for an ATI driver installed, I'm all ears

I think I may end up buying a more full distribution, like the Mandrake power pack.. except.. with such little luck on my own, I have this feeling I'll be stuck with a 60 dollar distribution that, in the end, isn't going to work. Or will take me 20+ hours again to even get close. Grrr hehe.
 
Old 02-14-2005, 05:36 AM   #10
thesurfingroach
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Fedora core 3

Dude try Fedora Core 3 - I personally don't play games on it but I know several people who do. They said it detected the video cards right out of the box install! Not bad in my book and very nice if you're a newbie.

Also for games try wine/ lokie games (didn't they go bust?)/happypenguin/ID(they did a quake port etc)/cedega (an emulator type thingy for windoze games)/blah

Hope it helps
 
Old 02-14-2005, 06:45 AM   #11
IsaacKuo
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I don't know about your model of Ati card specifically, but with my low end Radeons, Mepis detected and hardware accelerated them out-of-box. Other Knoppix variants I've tried including Knoppix itself did not (they defaulted to vesa--enough for good video playback with the hardware overlay, but not 3d graphics). However, I've never had to do a kernal recompile or reinstall or whatever to change the driver from "vesa" to "ati"--all I've ever had to do is edit XF86Config-4 and replace "vesa" with "ati", and it worked.

With Debian Sarge, my Ati Radeons were not auto-detected but the installer gave an option for which video driver to use (the generic vesa driver is the highlighted default among the list for newbies who aren't sure what to choose). I suppose that's still a good out-of-box experience, even if it's not auto-detection.

I recommend trying out Mepis. You can pop in the liveCD and try out Tuxracer and Tuxcart which are 3d accelerated and included with Mepis. At least with my low end Radeons, it was a wonderful experience for them to just plain work right off of the liveCD with no effort whatsoever on my part!

With Mepis, the liveCD and the install disc are one and the same (just as with other Knoppix variants). Thus, if it works from the liveCD, you can just install and you know the hard drive install will work also!
 
Old 02-14-2005, 08:30 AM   #12
billyc
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by jwhitene
IsaacKuo, thanks.

However, I do want to have some fun in the desktop. Like maybe play a game from time to time.

Regardless, I do do some graphics work, as well as work with videos from time to time. So the better my graphics, the easier that will be.

In terms of the config files, I had linked the xorg.conf to the config-4 file, which didn't work. I next followed guides to copy the info from the config-4 file into the xorg.conf file, which didn't work.

The bottom line is: regardless of what guide I've followed, and always starting with a fresh install of a distribution, nothing has worked "as expected". So I was hoping someone had insight into a distribution that actually worked, as expected, easily, without spending hours trying to configure some obscure thing.

Even the latest version of Mandrake 10.1 didn't do the most basic thing that the ATI driver required: install the kernel-soure properly. It, in fact, installed a a kernel-source that does not match the actual in use kernel source. something the ATI driver requires to install. Its stuff like that that makes a first (well, ninth) timer like myself very frustrated.

So, if there is just some distribution out there that actually installs everything correctly in preparation for an ATI driver installed, I'm all ears

I think I may end up buying a more full distribution, like the Mandrake power pack.. except.. with such little luck on my own, I have this feeling I'll be stuck with a 60 dollar distribution that, in the end, isn't going to work. Or will take me 20+ hours again to even get close. Grrr hehe.
[/The 10.1 32 bit mandrake powerpack works on my machine ati drivers and all my machine is amd 3500 64 bit with x800xt gecube radeon however i havn't found any 64 bit linux to work at all that includes 10.1 64 bit mandake powerpack and fedora core3 64 bit.Mandrake just say after install no device found on pci bus, Fedora won't even get through install when it goes to x server the screen goes blank i did find out with mandrake i had to disable legacy usb devices in bios.
Regards
Billyc]
 
Old 02-14-2005, 01:19 PM   #13
vectordrake
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The easiest answer to your question will come from the distribution themselves. Why not email them and ask if the ATI drivers for your card are already part of their expanded versions (like powerpack)
 
Old 02-15-2005, 03:03 AM   #14
jwhitene
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Emailed Mandrake 2 weeks ago. No response. But I'll keep trying.

Good to know that the powerpack works with X800's. I'll give that a shot. Thanks for the advice all.

Jason
 
  


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