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So here's the problem. I have a rather old laptop, bought it in 2007. It's an Acer Aspire 5100-5023 if that means anything to anyone. It has an integrated graphics card, ATI Radeon Xpress 1100. ATI (I guess AMD now) no longer provides legacy support for this card.

Now I have Ubuntu 12.10. It has xorg 1.13. Unity wont run correctly with out that version of xorg. However, any existing catalyst drivers aren't compatible with xorg 1.13. The OpenGl drivers I currently have seem to be sufficient for my usualy activities. Any graphics problems encountered thus far have been tolerable, I'm even at 1920x1080 resolution (I have a monitor attached, the built in screen on my laptop could never dream to do that. It's really a dinosaur now.)

The problem arises when I try to run games. Particularly I've been trying to run Starcraft 2 through PlayOnLinux which is a front end for Wine. I have to enable the debugger to see what's wrong and it points to OpenGl not being able to render a 3d environment. Particularly err:winediag:wined3d_dll_init The GLSL shader backend has been disabled. You get to keep all the pieces if it breaks. But that's irrelevant information to my problem.

SO here's my question: What is the best alternative graphics driver for my graphics card? The proprietary drivers are not compatible with the current version of xorg while OpenGl drivers are inefficient. There are probably people working on creating a compatible driver, but I figure I'd ask to see if there are any projects out there for creating the driver that I so need.

Chances are there are other older graphics cards that are in need of compatible drivers. With such a need there is bound to be a solution.

This information may or may not be relevant. The output of dmesg | grep -i radeon is

    [   64.010927] [drm] radeon defaulting to kernel modesetting.
    [   64.010933] [drm] radeon kernel modesetting enabled.
    [   64.011036] radeon 0000:01:05.0: power state changed by ACPI to D0
    [   64.011042] radeon 0000:01:05.0: power state changed by ACPI to D0
    [   64.012906] radeon 0000:01:05.0: VRAM: 256M 0x0000000070000000 - 0x000000007FFFFFFF (256M used)
    [   64.012911] radeon 0000:01:05.0: GTT: 512M 0x0000000080000000 - 0x000000009FFFFFFF
    [   64.012954] [drm] radeon: irq initialized.
    [   64.022849] [drm] radeon: 256M of VRAM memory ready
    [   64.022852] [drm] radeon: 512M of GTT memory ready.
    [   64.053820] [drm] radeon: 3 quad pipes, 1 z pipes initialized.
    [   64.074991] radeon 0000:01:05.0: WB enabled
    [   64.075003] radeon 0000:01:05.0: fence driver on ring 0 use gpu addr 0x0000000080000000 and cpu addr 0xf04fe000
    [   64.799739] [drm] radeon: ring at 0x0000000080001000
    [   64.812571] [drm] radeon legacy LVDS backlight initialized
    [   64.812576] [drm] Radeon Display Connectors
    [   64.814687] [drm] radeon: power management initialized
    [   65.090504] fbcon: radeondrmfb (fb0) is primary device
    [   65.090827] fb0: radeondrmfb frame buffer device
    [   65.090840] [drm] Initialized radeon 2.18.0 20080528 for 0000:01:05.0 on minor 0

The output of sudo lshw -c display is

           description: VGA compatible controller
           product: RS482 [Radeon Xpress 200M]
           vendor: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI
           physical id: 5
           bus info: pci@0000:01:05.0
           version: 00
           width: 32 bits
           clock: 66MHz
           capabilities: pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
           configuration: driver=radeon latency=66 mingnt=8
           resources: irq:17 memory:c0000000-cfffffff ioport:9000(size=256) memory:b0100000-b010ffff memory:b0120000-b013ffff

Also when I go to see the graphic's menu under system information it said that the driver was unknown. However, this time when I went to check it it said "Gallium 0.4 on ATI RS480 " while earlier today it was unknown. I don't know if this has something to do with me playing around with playonlinux or a recent update.

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marked as duplicate by Eric Carvalho, Jorge Castro, Warren Hill, Sneetsher, belacqua Jun 11 '14 at 20:35

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You have alrady found that the open source driver radeon does support your hardware to run Unity even in 1920x1080 but do not expect to find any better drivers for a graphic card no longer supported by the manufacturer (they do not even provide drivers for Windows7).

Be happy that you can run a modern OS like Ubuntu but dont expect too much on gaming powers on this old computer.

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:( I'm currently stuck with this computer. I don't want to play the games on maximum settings, I'd be fine with their minimum settings. There's a clause in that link you gave me: "Getting better 3D support For r300-r500 (Radeon 9500 - X2300) cards, the r300g driver is a newer 3D driver based on Gallium3D. It is the default 3D driver in Ubuntu Natty/11.04 and newer releases. ... Likewise, for r600-r700 cards, the r600g Gallium3D-based driver is available from the xorg-edgers PPA. It is also enabled by default from Ubuntu Natty/11.04 on. " Do you think that could help me? – Nil Mar 15 '13 at 15:33
It also says it the driver has accelerated 3d support: 0RS400/RS480 Radeon XPRESS 200(M)/1100 IGP which seems to indicate I should be able to do some level of gaming, eh? – Nil Mar 15 '13 at 15:37
also found this thread… which says I should be the happiest person in the world since my card is so supported...that same person says there were about 20 people like me... – Nil Mar 15 '13 at 15:49
Unforunately the community Wiki is not as up to date as it could be. The present driver in 12.10 is xserver-xorg-video-radeon version 1.6.99 which is pretty new (13.04 will have 1.7.1 however). I do not expect much to have changed. The xorg-edgers-ppa does no longer support radeon. – Takkat Mar 15 '13 at 15:53
cries so when I go to upgrade to 13.04, how will that effect my current graphics drivers? Do you think I might have problems with my display? I'm a noob when it comes to these things and all I've been able to do is weave through miscellaneous forums and wikis. – Nil Mar 15 '13 at 15:56

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