2008/06/20

Getting Compiz to run on Ubuntu 8.04 with an ATI X700 chipset

One of my laptops, a Medion md96500, I couldn't start Compiz after I upgraded it from Ubuntu Gutsy to Hardy (8.04). I remember that when I installed 7.04, I had to do some tweaking to get the video working. Luckily, since Ubuntu 7.10, the display configuration goes really well 'out of the box', but maybe some of my tweaks of last year did survive in my current Hardy install (8.04). This is the video chipset in my MD96500:
$ lspci | grep VGA
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc M26 [Radeon Mobility X700 XL (PCIE)]

I tried to play with the "Hardware Drivers" dialog-box, but this didn't help. Luckily, fixing was rather easy:
  • I removed the proprietary fglrx-driver of ATI and switched back to the open-source driver. This is well documented in: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonDriver. The switch went rather smoothly, but compiz still failed when trying to activate it.
  • Next, I ran the excellent compiz-check script http://forlong.blogage.de/article/pages/Compiz-Check. As you can see in the output, compiz-check not only detects that my x700 is blacklisted, but it also fixes it by letting Compiz ignore the blacklist:
$ ./compiz-check

Gathering information about your system...

Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Desktop environment: GNOME
Graphics chip: ATI Technologies Inc M26 [Radeon Mobility X700 XL (PCIE)]
Driver in use: radeon
Rendering method: AIGLX

Checking if it's possible to run Compiz on your system...

Checking for texture_from_pixmap... [ OK ]
Checking for non power of two support... [
OK ]
Checking for composite extension... [
OK ]
Checking for FBConfig... [
OK ]
Checking for hardware/setup problems... [FAIL]

There has been (at least) one error detected with your setup:
Error: Laptop using radeon driver.

Would you like to know more? (Y/n) Y

It has been detected, that you are running a laptop with an ATI chip.
The radeon driver supports Compiz out-of-the-box but because of a nasty bug
in the driver that causes X to freeze on some cards, this particular
combination had to be blacklisted in Ubuntu "Hardy Heron".

In case you already used Compiz successfully on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy), it is
safe to skip the blacklist.

Do you want to skip blacklist checks by Compiz? (y/N) y


$ ./compiz-check

Gathering information about your system...

Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Desktop environment: GNOME
Graphics chip: ATI Technologies Inc M26 [Radeon Mobility X700 XL (PCIE)]
Driver in use: radeon
Rendering method: AIGLX

Checking if it's possible to run Compiz on your system...

Checking for texture_from_pixmap... [
OK ]
Checking for non power of two support... [
OK ]
Checking for composite extension... [
OK ]
Checking for FBConfig... [
OK ]
Checking for hardware/setup problems... [
OK ]
Compiz is now fully functional on my laptop, and till now, it seems stable. gr8 :-)
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