Feb
15
2008

ATI Drivers for Radeon XPRESS 200, openSUSE 10.2

I didn’t have good results installing the ATI proprietary drivers in SUSE 10 using the ATI installer. The install itself was error-plagued and the X server was flakey afterwards. Thus when I upgraded to openSUSE 10.2 I chose not to install the proprietary drivers. For the past year I’ve been running with the non-3D Mesa/radeon drivers included with the release.

With ZENworks finally replaced with zypper on my system, package maintenance is fun once again, so I decided to try installing the proprietary ATI drivers. From among all of the different ways described on the web, I’ve selected “The Easy Way” from the openSUSE ATI documentation, which uses rpm packages supplied & maintained by ATI (AMD).

Pre-installation Status:

  1. glxgears – Mesa GLX Indirect renderer, runs about 90 FPS.
  2. Konqueror sysinfo: – Model: Radeon XPRESS 200 5954 (PCIE), Driver: radeon (No 3D Support).
  3. /usr/lib{,64}/libGL.so.1.2 – made “before” copies, since some installation instructions call for hiding them after installation. I want to be able to undo any hand edits to return to the standard linux driver if necessary.
  4. /etc/X11/xorg.conf – made a copy of the current file.

ATI Driver Installation Steps:

Based on the openSUSE ATI documentation, The Easy Way, openSUSE 10.3 10.2 10.1:

  1. zypper service-add http://www2.ati.com/suse/10.2 ATI – adds a YUM catalog containing the ATI proprietary drivers in rpm package format, enabling installation via YaST. I browsed here first, received a “no file found” message, and thought that the ati.com address had been retired by AMD. Fortunately, the instructions noted that the “above URLs are not browseable with a web browser, only by a YUM / REPO-MD capable packager manager”.
  2. Step 2 of the openSUSE instructions list a zypper command to install 2 ATI packages, but I wanted to see what was available and check dependencies before installing so I decided to use the YaST installer to carry out this step.
  3. Started YaST/Software Management, filtered for the new ATI catalog, and saw four packages: x11-video-fglrxG01 and 3 different versions of ati-fglrxG01-kmp (for bigsmp, debug, and default kernels). Choose the fglrx package that matches your kernel as shown by the uname command (default in my case). The dependency check was ok, so I clicked Accept. The X11 video driver package is 19MB, the kernel driver only 500KB.
  4. After the package installation was complete, I started YaST Software Management again to inspect the file lists of the new packages. The kernel module was installed into /lib/modules/2.6.18.8-0.8-default whereas my kernel is 2.6.18.8-0.9. The video driver package installs drivers into X11R6/lib{,64} and did not overwrite the original drivers.
  5. sax -r – per the instructions. I’ve never run this command before (except when installing the OS) and it worried me. The screen locks up, then it appears to kill the X server, but it reappears. Now I’ve got the SaX2 GUI and the Monitor tab’s Activate 3D acceleration option is active. After verifying that 1600×1200 resolution was set, I clicked OK without changing anything. Note: found the output from this command in /var/log/SaX.log.
  6. A box with a “Test” option appeared, I tested and the display was ok. Then Save, and an announcement that the changes will take effect when the graphics system is restarted. This should allow me to check xorg.conf. But no, the display started behaving badly, so I logged out and back in per the instructions.
  7. After completion, the accelerated 3D worked, but I’m now getting constant kernel errors:
    [fglrx:firegl_free_mutex] *ERROR* mutex id 0x.. not found in mutex list
    kernel: warning: many lost ticks.
    kernel: time source seems to be instable or some driver is hogging interupts
  8. Display didn’t look correct (see below) so I added a Modeline back in from the old xorg.conf file. This proved fatal to the X server. I managed to fix it by rebooting from an old SUSE 10.0 partition, otherwise it would have been time to rescue boot from DVD and attempt repairs. A vivid reminder of why I avoid X11 configuration whenever possible.
  9. The CRT Monitor parameters in xorg.conf switched from Modelines to Calculated and the display was being driven differently. There is now vertical compression at the top and bottom of the screen (as if the vertical scan rate was not constant).  Can not completely compensate with the monitor’s adjustments.
  10. glxgears – ATI Radeon Xpress Series renderer, now runs 1300 FPS.
  11. None of the OpenGL screensavers work; I think they are the source of most of the kernel mutex errors.

Conclusions:

  • YaST’s SaX2 is still an adventure and not up to the quality level of most other parts of YaST. There is little documentation (the openSUSE.org page is still a stub), and it runs without feedback, leaving me to wonder what choices are being made and where things are written. I would need to learn a lot of gory details about X11 configuration before I’d feel comfortable with SaX2 and the ATI drivers (or ATI/openSUSE would need to fix the frequent kernel errors).
  • Next release, I’ll install the 3D drivers first thing after installing the OS, then review the results and kernel errors. If I don’t like what I see, I can reload the OS, which is the only way I’ll feel confident that I’ve cleaned everything out.
  • Once I start using an OS release for production work, I’ll leave the graphics drivers unchanged for the duration. Updating midstream like I’ve done here is too risky (since I don’t need 3D for my projects).

posted in opensuse, SUSE, SysAdmin by Bozzie

2 Comments to "ATI Drivers for Radeon XPRESS 200, openSUSE 10.2"

  1. Black_Claw wrote:

    Indeed. Just same problem with my express 1200.
    Looks like it is still too far for me using beryl. 😛

  2. Morocco wrote:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Morocco

 
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