Saturday, September 29, 2007

openSUSE 10.3 RC1: ATI drivers installed

I finally installed the latest ATI drivers on openSUSE 10.3. I generally followed the core directions normally given for installing under openSUSE 10.2, and had no problems. I'm going to document the fast way I did this.
  1. Download the ATI binary drivers and put them in a working directory. It doesn't matter where.
  2. Open a shell
  3. Change to the working directory where you stored the downloaded drivers. Run the download as follows:

    bash --buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-IA32

    There is no SUSE103-IA32. Don't be concerned with using 10.2. And note that this is all one line.
  4. Change directory to /usr/src/packages/RPMS/i386
  5. Type 'rpm -hiv fglrx_7_1_0_SUSE102-8.40.4-1.i386.rpm'
  6. Type 'aticonfig --initial'
  7. Reboot
Once rebooted and logged back in you might want to run the following command inside a shell.
wbeebe@europa:~$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: RADEON 9700 PRO
OpenGL version string: 2.0.6747 (8.40.4)
Note that the original directions are quite involved and require that you change the operating state of your system (init 3). I found this to be unnecessary as long as everything else was closed on the desktop. My only concern doing this was prior experience. In the past, upgrading to the ATI drivers for earlier versions while they were still in pre-release was somewhat problematic.

Once upgraded I was able to put the screen in 1600 x 1200. Here's the obligatory KDE screen shot playing a ripped DVD movie. Unlike other reviewers I have not been able to log into the advanced KDE4 and try out some of its features. I have downloaded the KDE4 applications and tried them out. This is the KDE desktop configuration I've had for quite some time now.

This is the Gnome 2.20 screen. I played a bit with it, adding a Zune window decoration and installing the Nodoka theme. Nodoka seems a cross between the new Clearlooks and the old Clearlooks.

One of my little tests includes running Google Earth. Using the latest release (4.2), Google Earth hangs. Thinking I might have a problem with OpenGL support I started glxgears and fgl_glxgears. Both ran without problems. I then started NetBeans 6 and created a simple WorldWind project. WorldWind was recently released as a set of Java libraries, so this test was more than just a test of OpenGL; it also tested some of the distribution's Java 6 capabilties. Following the easy and clear directions I was able to quickly create the simple WorldWind Java client. While it's by no means a Google Earth, it does satisfy a need for development, and who knows? Maybe, in my copious free time, I might just create something to rival Google Earth based on NetBeans 6 and WorldWind.

Yeah, right.

KDE and Gnome on openSUSE 10.3 have matured to the point where either is more than satisfactory to me. In my mixed environment I tend to run Gnome with KDE applications (K3b and Kaffiene for example). I run Gnome because of the tight integration of the Java 6 Update 1 with the Gnome theme engine. Java on the latest Gnome uses all my theme elements as well as my font selections. Running Java apps on KDE doesn't look good at all. That may all change once the Nimbus theme is released. Then it should look good regardless the desktop or platform.


  1. didn't work for me..

    followed the steps. I have an ati x1950xt card.

  2. Sorry to hear that, but with today's release of 10.3 GM, it's a bit moot.


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