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Thread: [11.10] blank or scrambled screen after installing ATI proprietary FGLRX driver 11.9

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    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    [11.10] blank or scrambled screen after installing ATI proprietary FGLRX driver 11.9

    When I install the proprietary ATI 11.9 driver obtained from ATI's website I only get a black blank screen at start-up. No login screen is being presented.
    To see what was happening I changed the grub option GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in "/etc/default/grub" from
    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="splash quiet"
    to
    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="text"
    As a result I'm getting a screen full of pretty colourful vertical lines all across the screen. Yet, again no login screen.

    To make sure it wasn't a result of the update from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10 I did a clean install (complete, including format) but the issues remain.

    The strange thing is, this does not happen when I install the proprietary through Ubuntu's "Additional drivers".
    Of course, using an older driver (11.8 ) then available (11.9) is not acceptable for various reasons.

    After many reboots, driver removals, driver reinstalls and much configuring I managed to find the cause of the issue!

    Out of desperation I took a look at the fglrx installation log located at "/usr/share/ati/fglrx-install.log" and there was one line that struck me as quite odd:
    Code:
    [Message] Kernel Module : update initramfs not required
    Update initramfs not required? Didn't we just build a new kernel module during the driver installation?
    I do think it's required, despite the installer's opinion, so open a Terminal and:
    Code:
    sudo update-initramfs -u
    Either do this right after you installed the drivers in Ubuntu's GUI or through the recovery start-up mode when you already have the issue.
    If the latter is the case:
    1. Reboot
    2. Select the recovery start-up in Grub
    3. Go to the prompt as root (bottom option)

    At this point make the harddrive writeable:
    Code:
    sudo mount -n -o remount,rw /
    Followed by updating initramfs:
    Code:
    sudo update-initramfs -u
    Enjoy Ubuntu again! (after a way too painful experience with all the other issues after updating from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10...)

    NOTE 1: do make sure you removed all traces of an earlier proprietary driver before installing the one from the website:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx*
    NOTE 2: make sure you first install all available Ubuntu updates before installing the driver. I've got the feeling the driver issues where worse before a couple of Ubuntu updates.

    Also, I wonder if this is an ATI issue or an Ubuntu issue. Is the driver incorrectly checking if it should update initramfs or is Ubuntu providing it the wrong info? All worked fine in Ubuntu 11.04 with the 11.9 driver...
    Last edited by Prodoc; October 20th, 2011 at 11:46 AM. Reason: additional clarification

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