Saturday, October 22, 2011

Manually removing fglrx from Ubuntu

If you use Gnome Shell on Ubuntu 11.10 and tried to use the proprietary fglrx driver for your Radeon hardware, you might have problems with rendering glitches.

Strangely, Unity seems unaffected although Unity and Gnome Shell both use desktop effects. It must be something in the way Gnome Shell does it that Compiz doesn't.

Anyway, the usual method of installing proprietary drivers using Ubuntu's Jockey works but uninstalling proprietary drivers doesn't work at least for fglrx. On my computer I can't even run Unity 2D afterwards. Gnome Shell, at least, runs in fallback mode but it's not pretty.

So here's how to manually remove fglrx (using terminal, of course):

~$ sudo apt-get purge xorg-driver-fglrx
~$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri
~$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
~$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core

Reboot and you should now be back to the open source driver for your Radeon GPU. Gnome Shell should also be able to run without glitches.


These instructions are gleaned from the Ubuntu wiki. If it doesn't work there's an even more aggresive version that you could try.

If you installed fglrx from AMD's website instead, then you might want to try the following instead.

~$ sudo sh /usr/share/ati/fglrx-uninstall.sh

As above, reboot and you should be back to the open source drivers.