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I am trying to run an OpenGL application which has worked on previous releases of Ubuntu on other machines but which happily opens windows crashes when I try and draw anything in them.


  • Ubuntu

    64 bit Release: 13.04

  • CPU

    processor   : 2
    vendor_id   : AuthenticAMD
    cpu family  : 16
    model       : 4
    model name  : AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 B95 Processor
    stepping    : 2
    microcode   : 0x10000db
    cpu MHz     : 800.000
    cache size  : 512 KB
    physical id : 0
    siblings    : 4
    core id     : 2
    cpu cores   : 4
    apicid      : 2
    initial apicid  : 2
    fpu     : yes
    fpu_exception   : yes
    cpuid level : 5
    wp      : yes
  • Graphics

    01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI RS880 [Radeon HD 4200]


  1. I downloaded globs and ran all the standard tests. They all worked properly except for GLSL_paralax which failed to even start.

  2. I checked my graphics driver.

    glxinfo | grep render
    direct rendering: Yes
    OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on AMD RS880
    GL_NV_conditional_render, GL_AMD_conservative_depth, 

    I understand this to mean that I am using the open source graphics driver and I am not using software rendering.

  3. I ran glxgears

    glxgears -info
    Running synchronized to the vertical refresh.  The framerate should be
    approximately the same as the monitor refresh rate.
    GL_RENDERER   = Gallium 0.4 on AMD RS880
    GL_VERSION    = 3.0 Mesa 9.1.3
    GL_VENDOR     = X.Org
    301 frames in 5.0 seconds = 60.155 FPS
    299 frames in 5.0 seconds = 59.766 FPS
    298 frames in 5.0 seconds = 59.566 FPS
    300 frames in 5.0 seconds = 59.968 FPS

    I think this is a bad result. Other sources said that I should have a much higher framerate, though my monitor is set at 60 Hz so if the render rate is set at that, it seems correct

  4. I checked the OpenGL error log

     cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep EE
     (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
     [    14.665] Initializing built-in extension MIT-SCREEN-SAVER
     [    14.797] (EE) Failed to load module "fglrx" (module does not exist, 0)
     [    14.832] (EE) Failed to load module "fglrx" (module does not exist, 0)

    I think this means that I do not have the fglrx installed

  5. I looked up what fglrx is and it appears that it is part of the proprietary OpenGL driver. Instructions on how to install it are found here:


  1. Does anyone have any insight as to why the GLSL_paralax test failed to even start? Is there another comparable test I could try?

  2. Are there other diagnostic tests I could perform to isolate my problems?

  3. Is the missing fglrx module important? Could it be the source of my problems?

  4. If so, can I get it without installing the proprietary driver?

  5. If I need the proprietary driver, is the link I included the safest/easiest way to get it? I am loath to follow their instructions as I have had problems manually configuring the graphics driver of other Linux machines. Is there a graphical tool like Additional Drivers which could be used instead?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I solved my problem however, the solution was that there was an unusual error in the openGL code I was running. It failed because it could not find the required fonts not because of graphical issues. Because of the way the c-based OGL and font calls were embedded into python code, this was difficult to track down.

In the process of discovering this I tried several things including upgrading to the proprietary graphics drivers. I would Not recommend this for anyone running an ATI HD graphics card which is not supported by the 13.04+ release of fglrx. You need to downgrade your Xserver and this makes unity run poorly. The proprietary drivers do not add much i could see to the system graphics, though many reported that they have advantages for laptops in terms of power consumption.

Finally, the GLSL_paralax test from globs failed for non driver-related reasons.

Overall, all graphics work on my system with the open source drivers.

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