Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The ATI Radeon install blues

YACLM - Yet another cheep linux machine equals picking up another machine with the exciting missing proprietary drivers for ATI Radeon graphics cards.

Graphics Card

What this means in a practical sense, is geting vertical lines instead of an install screen when installing Linux. Here are the steps for (specifically Acer X1470 towers) installing using vesa aka "safe mode" in Ubuntu 11.10

When the CD loads you will get 3 options. Try without installing, Install, and check the CD.
Get your cursor on the Install line, push e to go into edit mode.

Remove quiet splash, in their place add: xdriver=vesa nomodeset

The result will be the ability to install Ubuntu on 800x600 resolution, but at least it installs.

Once you have installed, you can follow online instructions for setting up the drivers you need to get an enjoyable resolution.

If you have Graphics/ X windows/some colors and menus:

1. Go to System Settings and search for "Additional Drivers."

2. Observe "ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphics driver" is not activated.

3. Hit the activate button.

If you have nothing but a command prompt (no Graphics no X windows)

$ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Uncomment the lines that add "Partner" sources by removing the '#':
$ sudo get-apt update
$ sudo apt-get install fglrx fglrx-amdcccle

Booting alongside Windows 7

In my case it auto-booted to windows without any possibility of choosing. To get access to grub I put the install CD back in and pushed c when it offered me a menu. In my case, my linux was at (hd0,msdos5).

configfile (hd0,msdos5)/boot/grub/grub.cfg

That was informative, and how I got access to my install, but not what worked in the end.

  1. Boot the LiveCD Desktop.
  2. Open a terminal by selecting Applications, Accessories, Terminal from the menu bar.
  3. Determine the partition with the Ubuntu installation. The fdisk option "-l" is a lowercase "L".
    1. sudo fdisk -l
      If the user isn't sure of the partition, look for one of the appropriate size or formatting.
      Running sudo blkid may provide more information to help locate the proper partition, especially if the partitions are labeled. The device/drive is designated by sdX, with X being the device designation. sda is the first device, sdb is the second, etc. For most users the MBR will be installed to sda, the first drive on their system. The partition is designated by the Y. The first partition is 1, the second is 2. Note the devices and partitions are counted differently.
  4. Mount the partition containing the Ubuntu installation.
    sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
    Example: sudo mount /dev/sda1 Note: If the user has a separate /boot partition, this must be mounted to /mnt/boot Note: If the user has a separate /home partition, this must be mounted to /mnt/home. Encrypted home partitions should work.
  5. Run the grub-install command as described below. This will reinstall the GRUB 2 files on the mounted partition to the proper location and to the MBR of the designated device.
    sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdX
    Example: sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda

The machine I got also didn't have wifi, so I had to take it to an eithernet enabled location to install my wifi usb key which I had kicking around from previous towers. 

One stop shop for Belkin FD7050 


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