Fix catalyst driver installation in Ubuntu

1. Introduction

I found lots of people struggling to get catalyst driver work in Ubuntu. This issue has been persistent for some laptops, ever since Ubuntu 13.04 came out, specially for Intel, AMD dual graphics setup. For people, who have been looking at catalyst drivers since post was published, should not be that hard to find the solution, but for those who are new to Linux, or don’t have time for these kinds of issues, this might be a show stopper bug.

2. Installation

I removed the downgrading libudev and xserver-xorg-video section. Therefore, if you want to install 13.4 stable follow this link. For this tutorial, I will be using 13.11 beta 1 driver.  I recommend you download the latest version from here. I don’t usually test the newer versions (let me know if there are some problems while installing the newer versions). Unless AMD changes compatibility with xorg, kernel and xserver-xorg-video-intel it should be fine.

If possible, always use latest drivers. Before downloading the driver, make sure to read the release note (found in the download page) to find out the supported kernel and xorg versions and bug fixes. Download catalyst driver from here and unzip it in a directory. Using command line and building packages is the preferred method of installing the driver.

i. Using a GUI method

Using a terminal go to the directory, where you have unzipped the file and run following command.

sudo sh ./amd*.run

Screenshot from 2013-07-25 19:32:32

It should open up a GUI, which you can use to easily install the driver. After reboot, you can follow from Step 4 of this tutorial. However, If you want to play 32-bit games as well, install necessary library using following command and then follow Step 4. If you are on ubuntu 13.10, ia32-libs is not available (see 32-bit library installation problem).

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32gcc1 libc6-i386

Note: Many people have reported lots of problems (graphics and library) using above method. If you have graphics related errors, make sure you follow following option. However, make sure you properly remove this package (5. Reset Everything), before going with following option.

32-bit library installation problem: From ubuntu 13.10 onwards ia32-libs meta package is not present. If you get error while playing some 32-bit games, you need to install the 32-bit counter part of the package that provides the library with :i386 suffix. E.g If the error mentions, you need to install libglu1-mesa:i386 and so on. You can inspect necessary packages from this link or if you want to install the packages I installed (after inspecting ia32-libs dependency in ubuntu 13.04), install them from this link.

ii. Using command line and building the packages

a. Install the packages you need to compile the driver

sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++6 dkms libqtgui4 wget execstack libelfg0 dh-modaliases linux-headers-generic xserver-xorg-core libgcc1

b. Fix 64-bit dependency issue (ia32-libs is not available for ubuntu 13.10, see above)

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32gcc1 libc6-i386

c. Remove old fglrx driver ( if installed already), and reboot. If you have used GUI method to install, see 5. Reset Everything below instead.

sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev*
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-video-intel libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libgl1-mesa-dri:i386
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
sudo reboot

d. Build and install the downloaded driver. Using a terminal go to the directory, where you have unzipped the file and run following commands.

sudo sh ./amd-*.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/raring
sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb
sudo aticonfig --initial -f
sudo reboot

For ubuntu 13.10, use Ubuntu/saucy. You can find out the string using following command.

sh ./amd-*.run --listpkg

e. If second last command does not execute (say it complains about not having any graphics card installed), you might have turned off AMD graphics card using vgaswitcheroo switch, which you can enable using following command and then will be able to execute above command (before reboot). If you have already rebooted, go to a virtual terminal (Ctrl + Alt + F1), before login, and run above command (second last) to create xorg.conf file.

sudo su
echo ON > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

Also, if you later plan to remove catalyst and go with open source only option, you can copy following line into /etc/rc.local file (before exit 0) and this will turn off your AMD graphics card at boot and fix the heating caused by AMD graphics card.

echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

3. Other Errors

a. Fix unity, if it broke during installation (this will reset your Desktop)
cd ~/.config
rm -rf compiz-1 dconf gnome-session

You can also install compizconfig-settings-manager (cccsm) and enable OpenGL and Ubuntu Unity Plugin to get back the dash and other visual components.

b. TF2, Dota 2, Steam OpenGL or networking error

i. If other applications runs, but steam fails to start  with proper OpenGL support while using AMD drivers, you may choose to follow the command line and building the packages option, and if that does not fix the problem, you might have to clean up and re-install Steam.

Screenshot from 2013-07-25 21:56:19

Move SteamApps directory to some other place (it will be very fast, if you don’t change the drive), and re-install steam. You can move back that directory, after first login.

ii. If you get following error while playing TF2 or Dota 2

Required OpenGL extension “GL_EXT_texture_sRGB_decode” is not supported. Please update your OpenGL driver

It is probably because of a file in your home directory called .drirc. To fix this error, delete this hidden file logout login back and start the game in Steam. If it still does not work, make sure libtxc-dxtn-s2tc0 is installed. Also, you can create another user, copy or link steam related files and directories (~/.steam, ~/.local/share/Steam, ~/.steampid, ~/.steampath) and start Steam using this new account, to see if the error exists.

iii. While using AMD card, if it fails to login, it might be because of this error.

Adding following text to /etc/hosts might solve the network related error. However, use this text only if it fails due to networking issue.
c. GPU Hang

With Intel drivers you might get sudden desktop freeze, or programs may slow down. Let us find out if it is actually a GPU hang issue, that I am talking about.

While the desktop or some application freezes, go to a virtual terminal (Ctrl + Alt + F1), login and run following command

tail /var/log/Xorg.0.log
i915_hangcheck_hung *ERROR* Hangcheck timer elapsed... GPU hung
capturing error event; look for more information in /debug/dri/0/i915_error_state

If you get error like this, you could fix this issue temporarily by killing gnome-session using

sudo killall gnome-session

Capture values of log files under /var/log directory (at runtime) using following command and report the bug to appropriate project or search online for that error.

tail -f /var/log/logfile > ~/logfile

Note: Here logfile could be any file under /var/log directory, specially dmesg, Xorg.0.log, syslog etc.

Also make sure, you set game settings to lower, if you want to play it using Intel graphics card.

If you get slow frames per second in wine while using AMD graphics card, it might be because of the input lag that has not been fixed for a long time. For Intel graphics card in wine there is this sudden drop in FPS. I suggest you install software packages called htop (sudo apt-get install htop) and xosd-bin (sudo apt-get install xosd-bin). Run htop in a virtual terminal (Ctrl + Alt + F1) and run game with following command (to show frame per seconds on the screen).

WINEDEBUG=fps wine yourgame.exe 2>&1 | tee /dev/stderr | grep --line-buffered "^trace:fps:" | osd_cat

When game starts to lag and frame per seconds drops, switch to the virtual terminal, wait till the cpu percentage for the game process drops to normal (below 100) and switch back to X (Ctrl + Alt + F7) and continue playing. I was experimenting with xf86-video-intel-2.99.903 and the installation process was not seamless. I found this package to be quite good (only  two or three instances of severe lag). Therefore, upgrade to this version (when it releases) and use above method to see how it performs. In my test, I found in one of the games under wine (1.7.1), Intel graphics card to have better frame per seconds than the catalyst driver.

4. Test

a. Run fgl_glxgears and check the speed.

$ fgl_glxgears

b. If you have dual graphics cards (Intel and AMD), switch between both and see if they work

sudo aticonfig --px-igpu # for integrated intel card
sudo aticonfig --px-dgpu # for discrete amd card
aticonfig --pxl  # list currently active card

5. Reset Everything

If this solution did not work for you, it is time to reset everything and go back to where you were before the installation.

If you had used GUI method to install the catalyst driver, you can remove catalyst driver using following command.

sudo sh /usr/share/ati/

After reboot, it should work as it used to work before the installation.

If you had used command line and building the packages method, you don’t have to do anything other than repeat commands at 2.c above. I will list them once again anyway.

sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev*
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-video-intel libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libgl1-mesa-dri:i386  
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg 
sudo reboot

6. Graphical Card Switcher (Optional)

As you saw in 4 (above), you can switch between two graphics cards using the command line. Firing up command line each time you want to switch graphics cards is not very intuitive. In that case, you could open Catalyst Control Center using sudo amdcccle and press the appropriate radio button and logout and login back. Since, even that step is not that good, I thought I would share a script that does it for me. Create a file in the bin directory of your home folder called (you can name it anything you like) with following content.

$checkGraphicsCommand = ` aticonfig --pxl`;
chomp $checkGraphicsCommand;
if ($checkGraphicsCommand eq "PowerXpress: Integrated GPU is active (Power-Saving mode).") {
 # Activate the discrete GPU driver 
 system "pkexec aticonfig --px-dgpu && pkill gnome-session"
} else {
 # Activate the integrated intel HD driver
 system "pkexec aticonfig --px-igpu && pkill gnome-session"

Next, create a desktop file called switchamdintel.desktop inside ~/.local/share/applications directory (i.e the hidden folder inside your home directory, press Ctrl + H to show it) with following content.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Switch AMD Intel 
Comment=Switch to AMD Graphics card

As you might have guessed, in above script you should change username to your actual username and place a 256×256 png image of something that says amd and intel inside Icons directory called amd-intel.png. Also, adjust path of Exec and Icon path to locations where these files are located. If string comparison line in above perl script is different, change it to the actual output thrown by aticonfig –pxl command.


Make both files executable using chmod +x filename. If you logout and login, from now on you can search switch keyword in unity dash or go to System category in application menu and launch the switcher. It will change the graphics cards and logout.

Hope it helps. Cheers !!



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27 responses to “Fix catalyst driver installation in Ubuntu

    • 13.11 beta driver gui install works in ubuntu 13.10 64-bit. I don’t plan on gaming (yet) so I have not tried the rest of this guide. I appreciate your help.

    • Greetings Xpressrazor.

      I’m running Ubuntu 13.10 64bits KDE and I’ve got two horrible problems: so much video tearing and overheating. ~ 70°C

      My system: HP Pavilion dv6:

      [AMD/ATI] BeaverCreek [Radeon HD 6620G]
      [AMD/ATI] Whistler [Radeon HD 6630M/6650M/6750M/7670M/7690M]

      I am using the default xorg driver, and disabled the graphic card, following your tutorial. Solved the problem, but, how I saw above, isn’t secure, for a reason.

      Could you help me?

      • If you are using xorg driver, you can try DRI_PRIME method.

        In case of open source driver, if you don’t turn off radeon using vgaswitcheroo, it generates huge amount of heat (starting from boot). I guess you are not mentioning the heating that happens due to heavy gaming. Right ? Make sure, when you uninstalled catalyst, vgaswitcheroo was re-enabled.

        Heat generated during gaming can be tackled by using laptop cooling pad (even a cheap one will do, because it maintains sufficient space between the laptop input fan and the surface).

      • Greetings again Xpressrazor.

        Actually I’m not an assiduous gamer, I don’t play games in Ubuntu, and generally, I use my laptop over a wood table.

        The heat problem come from any driver issue. When a proprietary driver is installed, it doesn’t heat abnormally.

        About the xorg, it isn’t from ‘xorg-edgers’, and yes, the default already installed in Ubuntu. I resolved uninstall everything because the ‘video tearing’ problem.

        My system now, with the graphic card disabled, runs smoothly. I’m satisfied. I guess only the processor, an A3500 AMD, can handle the entire job..

        I used this tutorial to disable my Radeon 6600G:


  1. I usually prefer not to login with my facebook account on any sites but I really needed to thank you for this brilliant solution! This worked for me wonderfully! Thank you very much!

    My system:

    Sony Vaio VPCCB
    Intel/AMD Radeon HD 6630M hybrid graphics
    Ubuntu 13.04 64bit

  2. I followed these steps and everything seemed to work fine. Does the AMD Catalyst Control center install in these steps too? I am unable to find it.

    Any idea to install / start it?

  3. cutoverrooster

    Thanks so much. Went through numerous other tutorials, but finally this was the one that worked.


  4. Thanks for the tutorial. After long time struggling with Catalyst drivers with Linux in my laptop, finally one solution that really helped!

    The driver is working fine. But even though I locked libudev0 and xserver-xorg-video-intel in Synaptic as recommended, every time the system runs an update, I have to reinstall again both of them due “low-graphics mode error”. Last time after the reinstallation of those two files, I was not able to fix Unity, so I moved to Gnome 3.6 which is working fine for the moment.

    Any recommendation to tackle this issue will be appreciated…


    My system:
    HP Pavilion dv7
    Intel/AMD Radeon HD 6730M/6770M/7690M XT hybrid graphics
    Using Catalyst 13.4
    Ubuntu 13.04 64bit

    • A nice approach, after you have done some graphics related work (that could possibly break the desktop environment) is to login into Guest Session (for test), before login with your actual username.

      Anyways, following commands fixes unity for me (be aware it deletes all browser bookmarks too), if I haven’t broken the graphics drivers.

      cd ~/.config

      rm -rf compiz-1 dconf evolution gnome-session gtk-3.0 ibus libaccounts-glib nautilus Trolltech.conf ubuntuone update-notifier user-dirs.dirs user-dirs.locale

      The beta driver, I have mentioned in this tutorial does not need to lock libudev and xserver-xorg-video-intel in Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

  5. Thanks xpressrazor! I was able fix Unity!

    regarding the beta driver, originally I installed the one available last weekend (ver. and didnt worked for me (the screen kept freezing, no bottons at the top of the windows and so on). I downloaded and installed ver. 13.4. (which is working fine until the automatic upgrades).

    I will take my chances with the new beta (ver. 13.8) and keep you informed of the results…

    Thanks again mate!


  6. ^ I just installed the 13.8 beta with this method, works fine.
    My system:
    Asus N56DP running Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon 64bit
    Radeon 7730M

    So should I go ahead and unlock libudev and xserver-xorg-video-intel?

  7. I followed all the steps, but at boot time, instead of taking me to the user login screen, it takes me to a command prompt login (like a server).
    To recover system, I have to manually restore original xorg.conf.

    Kubuntu 13.04
    Catalyst beta 13.8
    Samsung Chronos7, Radeon HD6750M and Intel graphics

    • If it does not work, you should be able to restore back to your original open source drivers using step 5. Installing AMD graphics driver is not always seamless in Linux. After removing the catalyst driver and removing xorg.conf (or restoring to original version), if it still throws you to the command prompt, you need to install the meta package that fixes lots of these issues. In case of ubuntu the command is.

      sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

      and in case of kubuntu it is

      sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

      Having said that, I still wonder, why it did not work for you. I hope you downloaded catalyst 13.8 beta 2, went with the manual installation steps, created the xorg.conf file using “aticonfig –initial -f” command and made sure new /etc/X11/xorg.conf file is created.

      One more thing you could do before catalyst drive installation is run following commands.

      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

      In my case, if I only have open source drivers, I always make sure that I have deleted the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (I don’t know what you meant by restore). On the other hand, when I have installed catalyst driver, I always make sure /etc/X11/xorg.conf file is created with “aticonfig –initial -f” command.

      If this does not work, you might as well give xorg-edger ppa’s fglrx installer a try.

      Thanks for the response.

  8. Reblogged this on Amy's Ramblings and commented:
    This is great and I want to be able to fix my Ubuntu ATI drivers after the kernel updates again.

  9. Works like a charm!! I had almost given up on installing AMD drivers on my Ubuntu 13.04. I had tried like hundreds of different methods but none of them worked. This did. Thanks a lot @xpressrazor.

  10. Ok, I’m gonna say it:


    Finally!!! After more than 2 years, my AMD GPU is working on Ubuntu! I tried many thing before.

    Right now all seems to be working fine, Using lastest drivers 13.12 betav1 on Ubuntu 13.10. All seems to be working fie, just the fan a little lousy, but this is great!

    Thanks again!

  11. After installing ATI Catalsyt Driver in Ubuntu 13.10, there is an increase in login time and logout time. I never experienced this in Ubuntu 13.04.

    Is there any solution for this?

  12. Hey, I have a Sony VPCZ2190X which has a removable external card which essentially acts like a dual graphics setup when connected. Whenever i try to start X with the card attached, i get a kernel panic. Im using 13.10 and the latest beta driver at the time of this post (13.11 beta 9.2) Is there something im missing?

  13. Hi, thank you a lot for the tutorial it worked great on my previous system Mint 15 64bits (ubuntu 13.4) but I’m experiencing an odd issue on mint 16 (ubuntu 13.10).

    Using the manual install I cannot build the debs for saucy, it says something in the lines of “error: distribution not supported”

    Indeed the “–listpkg” option confirmed the lack of support for saucy which doesn’t make sense?!
    Automatic install worked but stopped working after the next reboot.

    This is driving me crazy, even the unofficial amd wiki uses your metthod and don’t aknowledge this issue(
    I haven’t found anyone else except this german dude encountering the same issue:
    As a result I am using Xedgers ppa but this is no optimal solution.

    • Just to check, I ran --listpkg against some catalyst versions (even as old as catalyst-12.10) in Ubuntu 13.10 and all show Ubuntu/saucy. I don’t know what to say (I too am confused now, as how can even such an old version of catalyst show Ubuntu/saucy). I used to use Mint (as one of my distros) few months back, but these days I have replaced it with something else as my second distro, therefore whatever I say wouldn’t address your issue.

  14. I ran the –listpkg and got the following packages with Ubuntu:


    Is it possible that Ubuntu/source meant to ne Ubuntu/saucy?

    • No, saucy comes up as Ubuntu/saucy in 13.10. Ubuntu/source used to be there all the time. However, when I checked it from non-ubuntu OS (or non 13.10 distro e.g Arch) 13.11beta showed only till Ubuntu/raring (and Ubuntu/source of course).

  15. how to fix slow graphics performances

    i’m using ubuntu 13.04 slow performance then i upgrade the os but graphics card was not starting at low level

    my system config….
    Memory 2.0Gib
    Processor AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ × 2
    Graphics Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.2, 128 bits)
    OS type 32 bit
    Disk 76.5GB

    How to increase the performance….. Any one help me out from this problem

  16. Hi
    Thank you for this guide. It really helped me to get my graphics card working nicely in Ubuntu 13.10. However, I still have a couple of issues. I have implemented the card switcher described in step 6, which works great when switching from discrete GPU to the integrated Intel GPU, but when switching the other way my system switches to low graphics mode. I then have to do a full reboot to get up and running again using the discrete GPU If you or anyone else has any advice on resolving this issue it would be greatly appreciated. My graphics card is a Radeon HD 8870M.

    I am also having issues using dual monitors when the discrete GPU is active, but again this works fine using the intel graphics. Any help here too would be a bonus.

    Thanks in advance.

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