Well I think I've finally found a way for AMD Hybrid Graphics users to be able to use either GPU on their machines running Ubuntu with AMD's proprietary fglrx driver (+ Catalyst 12.2).
The purpose of this thread is to discuss solutions for AMD Hybrid Graphics (AMD A-Series APU, with an additional discrete AMD Radeon HD card). This is somewhat common in newer laptops and until now I hadn't seen any Ubuntu discussions of how to do this on Linux; to get both adapters working separately and have the ability to switch between them.
The following is what I did, on my laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z575, to get either graphics accelerator working. It requires a bit of work and a reboot to switch, but at least it works on either one. In my case, the hardware was an AMD A6-3420M APU with a Radeon HD 6650M GPU. I run Maverick (10.10) x86_64.
1. Download AMD's drivers ([url=http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/amd-driver-installer-12-2-x86.x86_64.run]link/url])
Note: I think the link provided is for both 32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu, yet I'm not sure. It worked on my 64-bit install, and it is the same link if I select "Linux_x86" in the dropdown box. If it's not working for you, try to find another link yourself, and also please let me know via this thread.
2. Once you've downloaded the file, move it to its own folder in your home folder, in this case "catalyst12.2". Now you have to run a few commands:
Note: You can usually just type "sudo sh ./amd" followed by the [Tab] key to autocomplete the filename. My filename might not be the exact same as yours.
sudo sh ./amd-driver-installer-12-2-x86.x86_64.run
3. You should get a (to some extent) graphical installation prompt. Select the top option (install the driver, 8.xx), not the distribution-specific deb option (the bottom one). When prompted, choose an automatic installation. The rest is straightforward; actually, it's just a short wait while the drivers are installed.
4. After installation, you can reboot. You shouldn't need to run the amdconfig command, unless you have further issues. For me, I had Catalyst working, but it was using my discrete GPU (the Radeon, not the APU). This is not great for battery life, and the point of this thread is to explain how to switch between the two. At this point, in my BIOS, I had the Hybrid Graphics option set to "Dynamic," i.e. both adapters, or the like (enable just the discrete graphics if possible, for me it was either UMA-Only or Dynamic).
Note: DO NOT use the "Switchable/Hybrid Graphics" tab in Catalyst or change settings within that tab! This for me causes purple-screen errors and other nasty things. It's important that you let Catalyst stay thinking that it's using the *most powerful* and *least power-efficient* adapter available; you control the actual setting in the BIOS.
5. Now, if you wish to switch to using APU-only graphics, shut down your computer, and boot into the BIOS. (The hotkey for me was F2, so I held it down upon boot. Keys may vary, they're usually listed on-screen during the POST (Power On Self Test).) The BIOS option will also vary, but for me I changed "Graphic Device" to "UMA Only," from the default "Dynamic," completely disabling the discrete GPU and making it invisible to Catalyst. Afterward, save the changes and reboot.
If all goes well, Catalyst should (by step 5) recognize ONLY your APU's built in graphics processing unit, and think that that is the only GPU in your system; which to an extent produces the desired effect and elongated battery life, especially because the discrete graphics chip is completely disabled until you turn it back on in the BIOS.
I was lucky that the AMD drivers worked, with the discrete card, right after I installed them. Your mileage may vary, you may have to run the amdconfig --initial command, or a variation thereof, to get a usable desktop environment with fglrx. In that case, I suggest you consult the installation guide for fglrx hosted by CCHTML.
I wrote this guide in hopes that others with a similar laptop/chipset could have some hope in their hybrid graphics and other Linux endeavors; if you find any errors or have trouble on similar hardware, please don't hesitate to post back in the thread and we can discuss solutions together. Though on Windows with the proprietary drivers installed one may be able to switch graphics adapters more seamlessly, I'm really happy that I can at least get them working independently and preserve some battery life. Ultimately I hope that the next person frantically searching for a way to get their AMD/AMD hybrid graphics working will have something remotely resembling a solution, and I think that's what I've found. Good luck!
- gdea73 -