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How to Install ATI drivers in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric

Updated on October 29, 2011

You have two ATI driver options: FGLRX and Open Source

Before we start the tutorial, I thought you might like to know the difference between two distinct ATI drivers for ubuntu: open sourced drivers and FGLRX (ATI's Catalyst driver for Linux/Ubuntu).

Open source drivers is where it's at today. One of the more popular drivers for ATI's cards is adequately called xerver-xorg-video-ati. Generous contributors have hacked at code to create a free and open source driver for many ATI users. These drivers have come quite a long way from what they used to be 2 years ago. However, they still lack in performance slightly and aren't officially supported by ATI.

Proprietary drivers, on the other hand, offer better performance at the cost of your bragging rights of saying that you have a completely open-source and free operating system. But how many times will you ever say that? Proprietary rivers like FGLRX are what we call closed-source, meaning that the code is not open to the world to edit, share and improve. This doesn't really affect the end-user and these drivers offer slightly better performance and that is why I and many others prefer FGLRX. Today, I'll show you how to install the proprietary driver.

Option 1: Installing FGLRX the easy way

While writing this article, Ubuntu 11.10 is currently in its alpha stage and is still a bit buggy. In most cases, this method should work. Simply go to System Settings and search for "Additional Drivers."

Now you should see a box that shows that the "ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphics driver" is not activated. Now for the tricky part: hit the activate button, enter your password when prompted, let it do it's thing, then restart your computer!

Option 2: Manually Download/install/Configure the ATI Driver

This method is a bit more tricky and, in my opinion, a little less likely to work. So here are the steps:

  1. Download your driver from AMD's website:
  2. Right click on the downloaded file. Go to Properties and allow it to be executed as a program.
  3. Now double click the file, let it run in Terminal, and enter you password when and if required.
  4. Once done, open up another Terminal and enter the following command: sudo aticonfig --initial
  5. Reboot

This method applies to all Ubuntu-based distros (Kubuntu, Linux Mint, Xubuntu etc.), by the way.


I see a black screen upon reboot, what do I do!?!

First, reboot into recovery mode, in low graphics mode. Then enter this again into a Terminal: sudo aticonfig --initial. If you see nothing again on the reboot, go back into low graphics mode to uninstall the driver.

How do I uninstall the ATI driver?

This method only works by removing the drivers and not reimplimenting the old one. Here's the tutorial to uninstall, reinstall and configure the default ATI drivers to the way it was.

Once again, reboot into safe mode in low graphics mode and open up a Terminal. Enter this: cd /usr/share/ati

and this: sudo sh ./


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    • profile image

      Paul M 

      8 years ago

      if it doesn't boot properly, interrupt grub pre-boot and edit the boot line to add the word "single", so you can get to a command prompt. Or choose the failsafe. Then you can fix any problems. easier than using a rescue disk.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Just one thing is not clear to me; why so many people praise the Linux when nothing is working properly and whenever I do something by a tutorial it does not work in Linux or throw an error?

    • profile image

      mepis 2011 

      8 years ago

      Check to see if your card is in the list the download link is at the bottom of the page their web page.

      Read the instructions and see if your distro/version is in the list.

      The installer also has a source install option for other distro's of linux.

      Good Luck!

      Chris the best thing to use is a live cd of your distro(or most other linux ones will work but using your distro will make sudo commands a lot easier,some of my distro's use "su" instead of "sudo":hence live cd of your distro will work best) if available to boot with and try to uninstall your driver as super user the cd will boot up with it's own base gpu drivers.

      Taken from above; Enter this in a terminal window:

      cd /usr/share/ati

      and this: sudo sh ./

      (will only work if that's where you installed too, other wise you need to be in the folder where it was installed and run only the second command in the terminal the first is just moving through the directorys)

      Not sure how the package manger works in your distro but if you can get to it with a live cd uninstall the drivers the same way you installed them(works best this way cause the manager also has a history tab that keeps track of what you did, so you can revert back to a working system

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      can someone help? i am not finding the driver via the link provided,my graphix card is a Mobility Radeon 9700,but everytime i go to the sight provided by the author..i cant get to the dirver?.is there a repository this can be downloaded from?

      any and all help is greatly appreciated

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This all looks great. But what do you do if you can't see anything because Ubuntu boots into a blank screen because the driver isn't installed?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

    • profile image

      Adois John 

      8 years ago

      4 years? N00b. Nobody cares that you're not using linux any more. Tool.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      So far, I'm enjoying the new Ubuntu release. It's been alright. I'm going to try this since almost all of my laptops have an ATi Raedon of some kind. So I hope this works.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice article Richard. Thanks for posting it.

      I just installed Ubuntu 11.10 on my new laptop with ATI Radeon graphics and it's fine. In fact, I was surprised at how easy the install was, especially considering all the bitching and moaning from commenters here!

      I admit it can be difficult and frustrating sometimes to install and configure an OS, but there are problems that are far worse, more opaque, and harder to diagnose and resolve in Micro$oft's so called "operating system."

      I guess only those of us who were around in the 90's, when a misconfigured XFree86 conf file could literally fry your monitor, can truly appreciate the amazing user ofriendliness of the latest generations of linux distros. But, alas, there will always be millions of lazy people out there who prefer to try solving problems by luck, trial-and-error, and constant rebooting, without learning how or why things work. And Bill Gates has made an OS that is just perfect for them. =)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Flgrx and Xubuntu 11.10 gives me just Vesa. Awful. Adios Ubuntu and all Linux distros. You all failed to install/compile/x-swat ppa/manual -beta/stable/ etc. Adios Linux. These has been great 4 years.

    • profile image

      Ubuntu11.10 nightmare 

      9 years ago

      I've been using Ubuntu from the Hardy Heron Release, I can say with

      all confidence, that 11.10 is and hopefully will be the worst ever, ever, ever...Usually I'm a patient guy who likes to troubleshoot, but the combination of ATI Graphic cards (I have HD4xxx and HD5xxx)

      and Ubuntu 11.10 is fatal!!! From Black screen to Vesa fall back, from Frozen Screen To system crush, from no sound to noise, from Speakers down to Microphone non existence...Sorry, Ubuntu as much as I love, now I hate youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. But don't gave up , I will be back in 12.04.. ADIOS for now.

    • MrRichard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Canada

      I've tested these procedures on two separate machines and they worked fine. Clearly, many people coming to this tutorial are looking for an alternate way because their drivers aren't working properly. Tbh, these errors I'm seeing are way out of my reach of knowledge. I recommend discussing your issues on

      @Klause Love you too.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hej Richard, I tried step 2 and lets see:

      aticonfig: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

      Now Blackscreen. Uninstall is not working. THX

      PS: Goto hell

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I tried to to this on my machine. I have an ATI FireGL v7200 card and I'm having hell with the open source drivers trying to setup my dual monitors. I get this when I run it:

      Error: ./ does not support version

      default:v2:x86_64:lib32::none:3.0.0-12-generic; make sure that the version is being

      correctly set by --iscurrentdistro

      If I run it from terminal with this command: "sudo sh --buildpkg Ubuntu/oneiric" I get this:

      Generating package: Ubuntu/oneiric

      Error: Distro Version entered incorrectly or not supported, use --listpkg to identify valid distro versions

      and finally if I run it with --listpkg I get a list of all the distro versions it has packages for. Under Ubuntu I get this:

      Package Maintainer(s): Mario Limonciello

      Aric Cyr

      Status: *UNVERIFIED*

      Ubuntu Packages:










      For example, to build a Debian Etch package, run the following:

      % ./ --buildpkg Debian/etch

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have error: aticonfig: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

      Can you help me, please???


    • MrRichard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Canada

      @CRYS People have different opinions on what are the "good drivers". Currently Oneiric, in its alpha stage, has a tendency to break video drivers upon updates - especially kernel updates. There are a plethora of reasons why your driver is not working. Probably the easiest method is to boot into safe mode through GRUB or to access the partition with a different installation of Linux.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Jb: I have the same problem: black screen. But i want to know how to get the good drivers.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hej, i've installed the proprietary drivers and on boot i get the black screen. Any one knows how i can boot in to safemode ?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      also after downloading the latest drivers, you could generate the *.deb for your ubuntu version, after installe proceed with the steps 4 & 5.

    • MrRichard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Canada

      Whoops, actually, this doesn't work for Fedora 15. Here's the how to for Fedora:

    • expert-shawn profile image


      9 years ago from Canada-USA

      I like this article, thanks for writing this. Does this work for Fedora distro as well?


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