Google Earth on Ubuntu: Time to replace the ATI

OK. I finally give up. I know when it's time to quit being cheap and at least upgrade the AGP video card on my aging system so I can run Google Earth. When I got home earlier this evening I googled for "r300 xorg google earth performance" and got the all the clues I needed in the first entry. On the Ubuntu forums no less.

Basically the open Radeon drivers don't have all the needed features. In fact, the complaints center around how "the graphics are really slow and choppy." Hey. Just like what I experience. Unfortunately, the solution given by one of the posters doesn't work for me. I have all the latest bits he calls out, and I even downloaded and installed DRIconf. However, disaster struck when I started it and selected "yes" for "Disable Low-impact fallback". When I started Google Earth it locked up the system good and hard. Big Red Switch time.

When I start DRIconf, I get the following in the terminal:
libGL warning: 3D driver claims to not support visual 0x4b
And when I run Google Earth, I get the following in the terminal:
wbeebe@rhea:~$ googleearth
libGL warning: 3D driver claims to not support visual 0x4b
File r300_render.c function r300Fallback line 428
Software fallback:ctx->Line.SmoothFlag
Try R300_SPAN_DISABLE_LOCKING env var if this hangs.
File r300_state.c function r300Enable line 512
TODO - double side stencil !

I just ordered a GIGABYTE GV-N76G256D-RH GeForce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2 AGP 8X video card from Newegg to replace the ATI 9600 card in my system. I get the opportunity to not only upgrade my card under Ubuntu, but to radically change it from ATI to nVidia. I get to personally experience how Ubuntu handles the upgrade, and what needs to be done to get X working again. Joy, joy.


  1. not really a specific reply to the above article, but have read most of them, in relation to ubuntu, and your trials and tribulations with great interest, keep up the excellent work you've certainly made my ubuntu "transition" a little more easier, than by just jumping in at the deep end


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