Linux has created open source drivers to allow it to function well with the hardware it was installed on. These drivers are included with the OS. Meaning, there is little need to search for the drivers online. However, some drivers work better then others.
I have noticed that some open source graphic drivers for certain graphic cards aren’t as stable as I would like them to be. Sometimes my display system freezes at unexpected times, or the current installed open source driver can’t take full advantage of the card’s capabilities. On most occasions, the open source drivers do a fairly solid job of managing your GPU. If there are proprietary drivers available, then I recommend installing them. Why not? The manufacture made them available to work with linux. If so, install them.
I have an HP 2000 notebook, model: 188B, with a dualcore AMD E-300 1.3GHz processor 64bit. My graphics card is an ATI Radoen 6310 HD Wrestler. This is considered a low-end machine but good enough for ubuntu as I have 12.04.3 installed.
The system works as expected. I was curious to know if the manufacture made a proprietary driver available for linux. After checking the AMD website, they actually did. If it is there, use it.
The driver was in a zip file format. Which means I have to extract the files that it contained. Easy. When you download any file from the Internet, they all get stored in your Downloads folder on your ubuntu system. Simply open that folder and located the download file. In this case is was, amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13-4-linux-x86.x86_64.zip.
Ok, we are going to perform some commandline exercises. Ready?
Open up a terminal emulator that is supplied with your version of ubuntu. I am using Lubuntu on my laptop and the terminal emulator is LXterminal.
Once you have a terminal open, you will already be working in your profile. To make sure you are, type:
This will tell you the name of the user’s profile you are working in
Now navigate, to the Download folder.
Find the zip file you downloaded.
ls lists all the files in the current directory.
Create a new directory called amd_13-4_driver
Move the zip file into that folder.
#sudo mv ./amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13-4-linux-x86.x86_64.zip ./amd_13-4_driver
Now change to that directory.
Now, we have to unravel the zip file. Once we do that, all the files in that zip will be place in the current directory. You will see why we created one. There are multiple commands used to extract from a zip file. We are going to use, unzip. If you don’t have unzip installed. You can install it this way.
#sudo apt-get install unzip
Then run the command.
#sudo unzip amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13-4-linux-x86.x86_64.zip
All the files that were stored in that zip have now been set free. In that zip file there was only one file contained in it, amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13-4-x86.x86_64.run.
Now we have to turn this file into an executable file.
#sudo chmod +x amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13-4-x86.x86_64.run
Check the file in the folder again and you will notice that it is highlighted green.
Now run the file.
Follow the on screen instructions and your driver should install successfull.
One note, if you installed a different kernel image, the installer may fail as the new kernel may not have all the required headers. When installing proprietary drivers, make sure to use the kernel installed with the ubuntu.
Well, that is all folks. Remember, if your system has proprietary drivers made for it, there is no harm in using it. Unless of course, you just like breaking things. I can show you how to do that. Until next, enjoy this wonderful holiday.