Yet another ati-drivers+xorg problem

The ati-drivers saga will never ever end 🙁

The gentoo fellas updated the stable xorg server to version 7.2, so I decided to give it a shot. The process was smooth, no errors.
Upon reboot though, the problems started. No 3D acceleration! I re-emerged the drivers, I used eselect opengl set ati, no result. Damn! I am still using kernel version 2.6.18 and my ati drivers were version 8.32.5.
My first thought was to update ati drivers to the latest available, 8.35.5. The 50Mb download took more than 30minutes on my 1mbit super-duper-extra fast adsl!

<Yet Another Rant>
During the last couple of weeks I can’t even get more than 50kb/sec during the night. During the morning there are times that I can hardly browse through websites with reasonable speed. Real-time streaming videos from youtube is out of the question of course.
</Yet Another Rant>

The drivers compiled fine but I lost my 1280×1024 mode! Out of sync errors and no image displayed on my tft. I couln’t even make it work with a Modeline…The highest mode that worked was 1024×768. I’ve even tried removing the ddc module out of xorg modules directory without any luck though. I am not willing to go back to 1024×768 so I had to download some other, older, ati-drivers version.
This time I chose version 8.33.6. Another 50Mb of download and another 30minutes of wait. The emerge was smooth, no errors. X windows started…but my fonts were trully messed up! Something had made them very very small on menus and input boxes. ARGHHHHHHHHH!! Grepping through the Xorg.0.log I found out that DPI was set to 75×75. Another easy way to check on that is through the
% xdpyinfo | grep resolution

command. Something had went wrong. Then I remembered that I had removed the ddc module, I put it back in and I got:
% xdpyinfo | grep resolution
resolution: 81x86 dots per inch

A bit better but certainly not very good. I had to change the DPI somehow…but how ?

I googled and googled …and I found out that I could put something like this:
Option "DPI" "96 x 96
inside my xorg.conf in the Screen section. But that didn’t to the trick. That used to work on Xorg 7.1 but not on 7.2. Tough luck.

I kept googling until I found out that I could start another X server like this:
% startx -- :1 -dpi 96

get the screen dimensions like this:
% xdpyinfo | grep dimensions
dimensions: 1280x1024 pixels (XXXxYYY millimeters)

and then paste the output of the previous command inside the Monitor section of the xorg.conf file like this:
DisplaySize XXX YYY

That did the trick. I can now enjoy 96×96 DPI fonts.

During the googling I found out that I can also have something like this inside the .Xdefaults file:
Xft.dpi: 96

Now, after more than 2 hours of messing around with ati-drivers and xorg.conf I am able to enjoy my beautiful desktop…pfffff.

Reminder to myself: Dont’ ever ever ever ever buy an ati card again.

P.S. I really hope that the 8.35.5 drivers are somehow fixed in the future so that I can use 1280×1024 if I ever need to update to that version.

3 Responses to “Yet another ati-drivers+xorg problem”

  1. May 26th, 2007 | 01:55
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox on Linux Linux

    I found the bit about DPI useful, thanks.

  2. MattiViljanen
    September 9th, 2007 | 12:29
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox on Ubuntu Linux Ubuntu Linux


    Thanks for this little piece of information. I banged my head agains the wall here tried to figure out how to increase e.g. Firefox menu font size. This really did the trick, except xdpyinfo | grep dimensions give totally wrong display physical size.

  3. Matt
    May 8th, 2008 | 13:27
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox on Linux Linux

    You star, you just saved me a hell of a lot of work, and eye-strain. I have the same issue with version 8.471.3, firing up the new X on :1 got me the info I needed. Cheers bud!

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