How well does Fedora handle ATI cards?

Joonas Sarajärvi muepsj at
Tue Aug 4 04:43:39 UTC 2009

2009/8/4  <gilpel at>:
> I already said that I had no problem with my NVIDIA card and Fedora. Once
> you know that you must get your instructions at rpmfusion, everything is
> fine. The Nouveau driver also worked very well, but only in 2D, of course.
> Suse, and Mint, which I tried yesterday, only got me to a 800 x 600
> screen.
> I suppose the Nouveau driver recognizes ATI cards but what if you want 3D?
Nouveau is just for Nvidia hardware. The rough equivalent for ATI
devices is the radeon driver.

> I found this for x86_64:
> kmod-fglrx-
> but it's for an old kernel and an old version of Fedora.

RPM Fusion nonfree doesn't currently ship the proprietary
Catalyst/fglrx driver for Fedora 11, because it is incompatible with
Linux 2.6.29 and newer, and F11 uses a kernel based on the 2.6.29
series. So if you want to use this driver, the only Fedora option is
really Fedora 10, until AMD updates the driver to support a newer

> How do you manage ATI cards with F11 and the kernel?
I use the radeon driver provided by Fedora.

Currently it has no hardware 3D acceleration features, but there's
support for 2D exa and xv acceleration, so the driver works just fine
for basic use. For older ATI hardware (R500 generation and older),
there's even 3D support.

The non-free Catalyst driver supports distributions, not kernels, and
Fedora is not in their list of supported distributions. Fedora, on the
other hand, has nothing to do with the proprietary drivers from
neither AMD nor Nvidia, and thus won't pick an older kernel just to
support them. Sometimes Catalyst seems to work on Fedora, but quite
often Fedora has something too new for it, and it fails to work. Due
to this, I think that the free drivers are the only viable long-term
option for use in Fedora.

Fortunately, AMD has released specifications that help create free
drivers for the new ATI hardware, and there's work ongoing to get
radeon driver provide 3D acceleration even for the newest devices. It
seems that the development repos have some 3D stuff already working,
but the work hasn't yet landed to stable releases of the graphics
stack components. Still, this looks very promising.
Joonas Sarajärvi
muepsj at

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