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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 23 May 2014

The easiest, best way to get a packaged AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora 20

(This is what the Fedora 19 AMD Catalyst packages look like on my Fedora 20 system when seen in Yumex. Click the image above for a bigger version.)

Who better to tell you how to find and install an RPM package for the AMD Catalyst driver in Fedora 20 than the very person who ophaned the driver for that very release?

That's right, Leigh Scott, who had every right to drop the packaging of the AMD Catalyst driver in RPM Fusion for Fedora 20, is still maintaining it for Fedora 19.

He has an easy recipe for using the F19 driver on F20 systems. I can confirm that his method works. As is, this RPM of the Catalyst driver does not work with GNOME 3 (due to previously mentioned Wayland code that GNOME is now including). It does work with Xfce and KDE (and everything else that isn't GNOME 3, I presume).

Here are the instructions, originally from Leigh's post on the Fedora Forums, with my annotations:

First, make a directory and cd into it. Leigh suggests calling it 'catalyst':

$ mkdir catalyst

$ cd catalyst

Grab the needed Fedora 19 packages with yumdownloader:

$ yumdownloader --releasever 19 xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.i686 akmod-catalyst.$(uname -m) xorg-x11-drv-catalyst.$(uname -m) xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.$(uname -m)

Use yum to install the packages (shown here using sudo, though you can also su to root if you wish):

$ sudo yum --nogpgcheck install *.rpm

After this installation, I rebooted and had a working Catalyst/fglrx driver on my system. As I said above, it doesn't work with GNOME 3, but neither did the upstream AMD package before it stopped working altogether with the 3.14 kernel.

Configuration note: I did NOT need to do this, but if you have problems, you might want to use the aticonfig utility as suggested here:

$ sudo aticonfig --initial

Again, I did NOT need to do this.

Also, I'm not sure if these Fedora 19 packages will be updated with when I run Yumex or yum update. I do know that it's a good idea to keep an eye on the latest packages in RPM Fusion (in this case the non-free F19 updates repository) to make sure that you don't install any kernels before a new Catalyst is ready for them.

I will update this post when I have more information on how long this fix continues to work.

I'd like to thank Leigh both for his work on AMD Catalyst in RPM Fusion until now as well as for this temporary Fedora 20 fix.

At the same time, I once again call attention to how the lack of an RPM package of AMD Catalyst for Fedora takes away choice and functionality from the distribution and its users.

As much as I love Fedora and its community, if you have a newish AMD-running computer, I really can't recommend Fedora because of this continuing problem. Sure, the open Radeon driver for AMD graphics chips/cards is better than ever, but I can't get suspend/resume with it. Once that starts working for me, I'll shut up.

So what do you do if you need AMD Catalyst? Distributions that haven't fallen into this rabbit hole include Debian, Ubuntu, and every single other one I can think of.

I'll ride this fix as long as I can, but you can bet I'm thinking of where I can go in terms of a new Linux distribution in order to have my choice of video driver.

Terminal output of the installation of Fedora 19 AMD Catalyst packages in Fedora 20

Just in case you want to see how this installation went, here is the terminal output:

[steven@shr catalyst_19]$ su
Password: 
[root@shr catalyst_19]# yum --nogpgcheck install *.rpm
Loaded plugins: langpacks
Examining akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm: akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64
Marking akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm to be installed
Examining xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm: xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64
Marking xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm to be installed
Examining xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686.rpm: xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686
Marking xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686.rpm to be installed
Examining xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm: xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64
Marking xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64.rpm to be installed
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package akmod-catalyst.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19 will be installed
--> Processing Dependency: akmods for package: akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-catalyst.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19 will be installed
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.i686 0:14.4-1.fc19 will be installed
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19 will be installed
--> Running transaction check
---> Package akmods.noarch 0:0.5.1-3.fc19 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

================================================================================
 Package
        Arch   Version     Repository                                      Size
================================================================================
Installing:
 akmod-catalyst
        x86_64 14.4-1.fc19 /akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64             5.0 M
 xorg-x11-drv-catalyst
        x86_64 14.4-1.fc19 /xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64       52 M
 xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs
        i686   14.4-1.fc19 /xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686    93 M
 xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs
        x86_64 14.4-1.fc19 /xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64  97 M
Installing for dependencies:
 akmods noarch 0.5.1-3.fc19
                           rpmfusion-free                                  19 k

Transaction Summary
================================================================================
Install  4 Packages (+1 Dependent package)

Total size: 246 M
Total download size: 19 k
Installed size: 246 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
akmods-0.5.1-3.fc19.noarch.rpm                             |  19 kB   00:05     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
  Installing : akmods-0.5.1-3.fc19.noarch                                   1/5 
  Installing : akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                            2/5 
  Installing : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                3/5 
  Installing : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                     4/5 
  Installing : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686                  5/5 
  Verifying  : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                     1/5 
  Verifying  : akmods-0.5.1-3.fc19.noarch                                   2/5 
  Verifying  : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.i686                  3/5 
  Verifying  : akmod-catalyst-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                            4/5 
  Verifying  : xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs-14.4-1.fc19.x86_64                5/5 

Installed:
  akmod-catalyst.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19                                           
  xorg-x11-drv-catalyst.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19                                    
  xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.i686 0:14.4-1.fc19                                 
  xorg-x11-drv-catalyst-libs.x86_64 0:14.4-1.fc19                               

Dependency Installed:
  akmods.noarch 0:0.5.1-3.fc19                                                  

Complete!