Ubuntu Edgy, ATI's fglrx, DRI, 3D acceleration and X.org Composite extension

I think that Ubuntu Edgy Knot 2 is the first Linux distribution that enables the Composite extension by default for X.org. While this is really exciting, unfortunately it seems to negatively affect DRI and 3D acceleration when using ATI’s closed-source drivers, fglrx.

I don’t know exactly the reasons of this, but enabling Composite extensions disables ATI’s driver support for DRI and 3D acceleration. The X.org logs show DRI has been disabled, but they offer no clue on what’s going on, so I eventually found tout he answer while digging on the Ubuntu forums.

To disable Composite extensions, add the following lines to the end of /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "Extensions"
        Option "Composite" "false"

This will bring back support for DRI, 3D acceleration and, thus, OpenGL support.

105 thoughts on “Ubuntu Edgy, ATI's fglrx, DRI, 3D acceleration and X.org Composite extension

  1. Pingback: Chris’ Blog » Blog Archive » Edgy DVD Playback

  2. Uhoo , thanks , now i have the acceleration (i thought installing the latest drivers from their site but you saved me )

    display: :0.0 screen: 0
    OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
    OpenGL renderer string: RADEON 9550 Generic
    OpenGL version string: 2.0.6011 (8.28.8)

  3. Pingback: » Re: fglrx won’t initalise DRI - ubuntu.sitebolt.net

  4. Pingback: » Re: fglrx won’t initalise DRI - ubuntu.sitebolt.net

  5. Hi! I surfed in to you website when searching on fglrx, i to have the same problem on my laptop with a X1300 card. I have added the line to my xorg.conf file, but it still doesnt work 😦 I run the 8.29.06 ati drivers. Have you got any more ideas? The thread i posted is here http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=271752 i would appreciate a answer on email, or on the thread 🙂

    Regards, Tommy

  6. Try the following:

    # mv /etc/modprobe.d/fglrx /tmp
    # reboot

    I had problems with Edgy not loading the fglrx module which turns out causes problems and doesn’t allow DRI to work.

  7. Cheers my friend! This worked a treat and I have been slamming my head on a brick wall for ages on this!

  8. Pingback: Picking Through the Rubble that is Ubuntu 6.10 « FremLog

  9. Xpress 200M doesn’t work yet! The opensource drivers don’t support acceleration yet, and the proprietary driver doesn’t support compositing yet! So you’re not going to get AIGLX to work

  10. Unfortunately, it seems only the nVidia Beta propietary seems to be functional and powerful enough to drive AIGLX.

    I have tried the ATI open-source drivers, but it seems they don’t recognise the MacBook’s Pro ATI graphics card, and ATI’s fglrx doesn’t support GLX_texture_from_pixmap, so I haven’t been able to use AIGLX with that ATI card yet.

  11. Hello!
    I’m having problems installing ati on my vaio vgn-s1xp
    whith a radeon 9700.
    In fglrxinfo it gives me this:
    Xlib: extension “XFree86-DRI” missing on display “:0.0”
    When I turn composites off, I thik the dri loads, but I only get a black screen! Have to turn composites on again to be able to use ubunto (6.10).
    Any help would be apreciated!
    Thanks in advance!

  12. Hi, I am very new to linux (ie less than a couple of days).
    I am using ATI Radeon Express 200M with Ubuntu 6.10.
    When I type fglrxinfo I get the following :
    Xlib: extension “XFree86-DRI” missing on display “:0.0”.
    display: :0.0 screen: 0
    OpenGL vendor string: Mesa project: http://www.mesa3d.org
    OpenGL renderer string: Mesa GLX Indirect
    OpenGL version string: 1.2 (1.5 Mesa 6.5.1)

    And when I do what you suggested, it says can’t save file, cause I don’t have permission. When I try to change the file permissions it says that I am not the owner!

    Please help!

  13. Hi, NewLinuxUser:

    First of all, I want to take the oportunity to give you a warm welcome to the world of Linux.

    In order to modify the file /etc/X11/xorg.org, you need to elevate your privileges. /etc/X11/xorg.conf is a system configuration. Normally, you log into your Linux box using a normal user account which doesn’t have privileges to edit system files.

    In order to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, you will have to temporarily elevate your privileges using the sudo command to invoke your favorite editor. sudo will ask for your password and, if correct, will launch a new shell running with elevated privileges, running as user root, also known as super-user.

    To edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, you can use a command-line, text-mode editor, like vim or emacs, or a GUI one, like gedit (GNOME Text Editor) or kedit (KDE Text Editor). Since you are new to Linux, you will probably want to use one of the multiple GUI editors available for your desktop environment (GNOME, KDE, XFCE, etc.).

    To invoke vim with elevated privileges in order to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, use:

    sudo vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    If you want to use a GUI-based text editor, you can run:

    gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    This will run GNOME Text Editor with elevated privileges (running as user root)and will automatically open the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Alternatively, you can omit the filename when invoking gedit and use File -> Open to open that file for editing.

    One advice: please, don’t run commands or log in as root for your day-to-day work. This user has full control over the machine and has no access control restrictions, so it is dangerous to run programs as root, since you can run a command by accident or mistake that deletes critical files from your system, or run untrusted programs that may compromise the security and/or stability of your system.

    Hope this helps. In case it doesn’t, please post a new comment or e-mail me at felipe_alfaro AT linuxmail DOT org.

  14. Thanks dude, this worked for me!

    Sometimes the Option “Disable” or “0” doesn’t work for all.

  15. Hi . The trick doesn’t work with me. I have Ati X1600 PCIE and the latest drivers. I added the lines at the xorg.conf file but i can’t get 3d acceleration. what else can i do ??? Are there any other drivers for my VGA to install and have 3d acceleration and Beryl ?

  16. hey guys, im still new to ubuntu and linux in general.. i installed ubuntu edgy, but its a little laggy. i installed the ati drivers, and when i use fglrxinfo it says this:

    chirag@chirag-desktop:~$ fglrxinfo
    display: :0.0 screen: 0
    OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
    OpenGL renderer string: RADEON X700 PRO Generic
    OpenGL version string: 2.0.6011 (8.28.8)

    i downloaded the newest drivers form the ati website for my card, but the file extension is .run, how to i execute this file? or do i even need to? the only reason i think i would need to is it says the …X700 PRO Generic, so i think i need to use the proprietary ati drivers. any other special drivers i need to install? with windows there’s the special agp to pci bridge drivers, and cpu and motherboard drivers, anything like that in ubuntu? thanks so much!! //chirag

  17. Chirag,
    use sh, but be sure that you’re running bash and not dash, or you’ll get a ‘bad substitution’ error. Change the /etc/init.d/sh link. On Ubuntu: sudo ln -sf /bin/bash /bin/sh and to change back: sudo ln -sf /bin/dash /bin/sh. Or Google it, it’s all over the place.

    Filipe, you rock. I’ve been fighting this thing all day. I’m a Linux noob setting up my new dev box with Ubuntu, Mono/C#, and VMware for Win32/.NET dev, and this gfx problem was driving me nuts. Couldn’t get decent VM guest resolution.

    Thx again.

  18. Hello,

    Also new to Ubuntu Linux. I have been trying to get my ATI 1900 3D work. I still get the error message Xlib: extension “XFree86-DRI” missing on display “:0.0”. I have tried everything you all suggested and still cant get rid of this error. What am I missing. Any help would be valued.

    Thanks Robert

  19. Thanks for the tip, I now have 3D support, all I need to do now is figure out how to get DVI to work…

  20. When I tried to run the “mv /etc/modprobe.d/fglrx /tmp” command, I received this: “No such file or directory”. I have the same problem as NewLinuxUser. Any thoughts?

  21. Dude. If you were not a guy I would be all over you.
    Thank you very much for blogging this.

    Kiwi NZ.

  22. Jepp, same for me with my Radeon X1950. I’ll have installed the latest driver (8.33.6) and it should work. i hear the buzz from the graphic card fan but still get the error. Xlib: extension “XFree86-DRI” missing on display “:0.0″.

    I am not sure it can find my card.. in xorg.conf it only has “Identifier “ATI Technologies, Inc. ATI Default Card””

    well i will have to tweak some more maybe it comes around..


  23. What worked for me to get OpenGL running on my ATI Radeon Xpress 200M was to turn off the “Composite” extension in xorg.conf. I’ve running the ATI proprietary drivers version 8.33.6-1 on Ubuntu Edgy 8.10. From what I read, the most recent versions of xorg turn on the Composite feature by default. I added these lines to my xorg.conf:

    Section “Extensions”
    Option “Composite” “Disable”

  24. PLEASE for the love of the penguins help me

    ok, so I am having an additional problem with x1900
    1) in ubuntu graphics card works ok with opensource drivers, but I am not able to use a better resolution than 1280X1024 even though it shows greater screen resolution support, up to 1680X1050 in xorg.conf.

    However when I scroll using mouse wheel or slide bar in, for instance this page, it skips as opposed to smooth rendering.
    I mention this because when I do install flgrx drivers 2 things happen.

    One, I cannot scroll in a web page at all. Well I can and I can see that it is working, but in order to see the “refreshed” display I have to minimze and maximize the webpage. I have added the composite off section to xorg and rebooted.

    2.) I will also get overlays, AKA if I have two windows open
    and minimize the top one that image will remain in the second window until I min/max.
    Switching tabs in firefox will also refresh the display.
    Also when a warning window pops “start or restore firefox” for instance it doesnt actually appear.
    I can see it in the panel, but it will not draw on the screen until I move my mouse over it at which point it will draw the start/restore boxes independantly on mouse scroll over. and the title bar, but no text.

    xorg also identifies itself as an x1600 after I have installed the drivers as well.
    This is true for both ubuntu and opensuse, I have not been able to get any other distros to work with this graphics card. They all default out upon reboot after the install to a black screen.

    This card has worked. I took my box down for a few days to make some mods (upgrade to 2 GB PC400 ram and 500GB sata HD from 160 ide and 1.5 PC200) and switch to open suse. I was running beryl project when I did this. Now all I can get is the whitescreen of death in the beryl project when I tried to install over this error in either ubuntu or opensuse.


  25. Hi there,

    Guys, just wanted to post that I am now on linux after 15 years of NT to Vista. Vista made me think about what was going on in the community land.

    All I can say is thank you – it is now a tough learning curve, but worth the effort and the OS is so enjoyable.

    I have ATI driver issues – and i will read and get ti sorted..


    Hopefully I can contribute at as later date.


  26. hey guys i have a Intel® 845G grapics card and i was Playing the computer came World of warcraft and it runs very slow with Very small Fps (frames per second) ive lowerd the quality of the game. and i ahve a 1gig of ram. is there anything else i can do to get my Fps up higher

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