Finally: ATI fglrx + xgl + beryl for Ubuntu feisty

I’ve had harsh words to say about ATI Linux video drivers in the past – and I’m not withdrawing them. My advice is still do yourself a favour and buy NVIDIA. That said, I did an Ubuntu install on a work machine today (we get little choice with the specs) and finally got the proprietary fglrx driver working with Xgl and beryl, for a fancy desktop. All thanks to this very clear post; I’ve read many and this is the best.

The key points are:

  • The open-source radeon driver has composite (for beryl/compiz), but no TV-out and doesn’t support newer cards
  • The closed fglrx driver has TV-out but no composite. However, you can get beryl/compiz to run by combining it with Xgl, which is as simple as installing xserver-xgl and editing a small start-up script.
  • Here’s the key: the beryl packages in feisty are version 0.21 and don’t like Xgl. You need to downgrade to version 0.20 in the beryl project repository.

Xgl can do nasty things to your fonts (this thread includes a fix for “my emacs is all squares”) and some apps, like Google Earth are difficult to run (this page contains a fix) but on the whole, things work. If you’re stuck with ATI give these tips a try.

One day either fglrx will have composite or radeon will have tv-out. Which first, I wonder?

2 thoughts on “Finally: ATI fglrx + xgl + beryl for Ubuntu feisty

  1. Paulo

    I have been using kubuntu and beryl with my ATI AIW 9600 for quite some time. Very few of the resources are disabled and I have beryl running beautifully. No driver installation was required and everything was setup with the packages available to apt-get (only needed to add the beryl/compiz repository). The new unforked project – forgot its name – does not work, though.

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