Install catalyst driver in ubuntu 12.04.2


In this tutorial, I will try to explain how to install catalyst driver, fix switching problems (specially opengl part on intel cards) and some steam bugs. One reason to do this tutorial was because catalyst 13 series was not very good on my hardware in Ubuntu 13.04 or Mint 15. So, lets get started

Note: You might have to copy and paste following commands in a terminal, or open up a file and paste the text (when instructed or when programs like gedit are opened).

1. Enable x-swat ppa and upgrade packages

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

2. Install catalyst driver

Install synaptic and search for fglrx-experimental-12 package and install. If you install fglrx instead, steam will suggest you to install the experimental package, when you login to steam. You could also install it from Additional Drivers, but be sure to install the experimental and not experimental-beta.

3. Install ia32-libs

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32gcc1 libc6-i386
cd /usr ; sudo ln -svT lib /usr/lib64

If you have problems installing ia32-libs because of dependency issue (or you messed up 32-bit libraries), you might follow this link and solve it. I will re-iterate the solution below.

a. Edit /etc/apt/preferences.

sudo gedit /etc/apt/preferences

b. Insert following lines

Package: * 
Pin: release a=precise*
Pin-Priority: 2012

c. Install the packages

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

d. Remove above file

sudo rm /etc/apt/preferences

4. Edit /etc/X11/Xsession.d/10fglrx and make it look like this

if [ `uname -m` = 'x86_64' ]; then
 if [ -d /usr/lib32/fglrx/dri ]; then
 if [ ! -z $LD_LIBRARY_PATH ]; then

5. Create /etc/X11/xorg.conf

sudo aticonfig --initial -f

If it does not work during installation, it will work after a reboot. However make sure, you do this it in a virtual terminal (before login). Use Ctrl + Alt + F1 to go to a terminal, login and run above command. After that, run following command or reboot.

sudo stop lightdm
sudo start lightdm

6. Configure 32-bit library if 32-bit games don’t work

You can find if a game is 32-bit or 64-bit by running following command.

file game-binary-file

To add support for 32-bit games, create /etc/ file and add following text

sudo gedit /etc/

Run following command to update the libraries

sudo ldconfig

7. Switching between AMD and Intel graphics cards (after reboot)

sudo aticonfig --px-dgpu # Discrete graphics card e.g AMD
sudo aticonfig --px-igpu # Integrated graphics card e.g Intel
fglrxinfo # Find which card is running
fgl_glxgears # Very basic benchmarking tool

If your computer hangs, after graphics card switch, reboot it. One method that worked for me is, to go to a virtual terminal (Ctrl + Alt + F1) and stop lightdm, run the switch command and start lightdm again. It might not work for you. So it is better to reboot anyway.

Since you can run lots of games in Intel cards (e.g portal), you might want to use AMD cards only for graphically intensive games like Dota 2, TF2 etc.

8. Install steam

At this point, you should basically have a working system. I found couple of problems while installing Steam.

a. Steam installation failed because of network error.

I had to add proper ip for in /etc/hosts

b. OpenGL error

I had this error on AMD card, when 32-bit libraries were not properly installed. So I had to re-check ia32-libs option once more. If it continuously fails, you might want to rename your actual Steam directory to something else, re-install steam and move SteamApps directory inside this new directory once you are able to properly login.

If login fails while using AMD card, you might login using Intel card for at least once, before switching to AMD card.

If you still have problem, lauch steam with LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose option

LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose steam

You might have to ask the problem in github or .

9. General Issues

a. Laptop heating up even when using Intel cards

After running graphics intensive programs, your laptop will heat up and turn on the fans, even if you reboot it (because it needs to dissipate heat). However, if it gets hot even when you don’t run these applications and battery life deteriorates, you need to install a software called  laptop-mode-tools.

sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

b. Brightness reset to maximum or minimum

Install a software called xbacklight, and add it to Startup Applications.  Add a Startup Program and in Command input box type following text.

xbacklight -set 40

This command sets the brightness to 40% of your laptop’s maximum. Change it to whatever value is optimum for your laptop.

I hope it works for you. Cheers!!

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4 responses to “Install catalyst driver in ubuntu 12.04.2

  1. hey plz can u explain step 2 with more details??? i am new to linux so plz help me…

    • Synaptic is a software that you need to install in Ubuntu. After installing this software open it and search for fglrx. A list will show up and you will see packages named fglrx (only this name or could be fglrx-installer) and another name in the list will show up that says fglrx-experimental-12 (might be fglrx-experimental-13 these days) ( Select this package name and install it. Steam which was released after ubuntu 12.04, will recommend this package instead of the regular one.

  2. Hi there. I’ve tried the method above and it seemed to work but I’m having some problems.
    My system is HP pavilion dv6 with ati hd6770 and intel hd3000, and I’ve been trying to fix the gfx switch feature on elementary OS Luna.
    After following the procedure and using sudo aticonfig –px-igpu,
    when I logged out, used ctrl+alt+f1 and then sudo stop lightdm
    sudo start lightdm,
    upon loging in, fglrxinfo showed a graphics card that had vmware as manufacturer. When I rebooted (i have automatic login) he screen just freezes at the wallpaper with the cursor visible but frozen. Now I’m practically locked out of my system except for recovery mode which I have no experience with.
    I was hoping you could give me some ideas on what to try…

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