SuSE Linux Enterprise stock ATI Radeon driver bug?

this month, i recently installed one(1) SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop(SLED) 10 and two(2) SuSE Linux Enterprise Server(SLES) 10 on identical Intel 64 (Pentium D) boxes. the mobo is an ASUS, model P5RD1-VM, with an ATI Radeon for its onboard graphics chipset, model Radeon XPRESS 200 5A61 (PCIE), and BIOS version GCC11020M.86A.1065.2006.0502.1638.

without using ATI’s official driver for Linux or tweaking the display settings during the install process, on all 3 installations both SLES 10 and SLED 10 would properly detect the graphics chipset, and supposedly configure it correctly, but will fail to display anything intelligible or discernible after the initial boot on graphical mode or on any other subsequent boots.

so here’s what you should do in case you encounter the same problem on a similar setup (when typing the commands as illustrated here, don’t include the double quotes).

  1. boot to any other runlevel that’s not graphical. init 3 would do. you can do this by selecting failsafe at the GRUB menu.

  • get an official ATI display driver at if your machine is ready for the Internet, you could just list down the URL for the driver and use wget to download it. or ready a copy on another medium for easy access later.
  • install the kernel-source. enter the following commands, “yast -i /path/to/kernel-source.rpm” or “rpm -i /path/to/kernel-source.rpm”, where kernel-source.rpm is the full name of the said package.
  • make the installer executable. doing “chmod -500 /name/of/installer” should make it executable.
  • run the installer by just typing in the name of the installer on the command prompt and then press enter. it’s good to precede it with a “./” as it might not be in your executable’s path. so the whole thing would look something like this:
  • after the install do this: “aticonfig –initial –input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf”. this properly sets the values for the new driver to your X server configuration file.
  • run sax2 just to make sure that your newly installed driver is working properly. make adjustments as you please. the suggested sax2 configuration (you will be prompted on this) should be enough.
  • enter “init 5”, and this should take you to the graphical mode.everything should be fine from hereon. if not then you certainly have a problem. but don’t panic just yet. there should be a fix for this somewhere on the Internet. Google for it as this is already beyond the scope of this post.

    (this might be more of a Xorg driver for ATI chips issue rather than a distro specific one. but i can’t really tell coz i haven’t tried these machines with another distro.)

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    Notice: This article was published on October 18, 2006 and the content above may be out of date.