I have Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail (final release) installed on an USB 3.0 external hard drive. The goal is to be able to use it on any computer with a USB 3.0 port. I have successfuly installed the ati 13.4 graphics driver on it - this is for my desktop which has a Radeon HD 7950 graphics card. I also would like to use this Ubuntu on my Mac, with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Ubuntu works on my desktop with the ati drivers as it has the ati graphics card, however gave me a "low graphics mode" warning; I selected the option "reset graphics" and restarted. Ubuntu starts (the login screen is normal) but Unity no longer stats and so I have no windows border, no sidebar or top menu. I can right click and it show menus and I can open the terminal with the hotkey for it, but nothing else.

Keep in mind: Ubuntu still works on the desktop with the ati graphics card, however it does not on my mac which had intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Before it worked on both, but because of the lack of proprietary drivers, there was serious lag on the desktop.

Thank you for any help on how to get Unity to start on the mac!


You have to fully uninstall the ATI drivers for Ubuntu to be able to start with full graphical support, since the ATI (and also the NVIDIA) packages links your openGL libraries to a propietary non-mesa implementation. And that's not compatible with the mesa-based intel driver.

My solution would be making an init script that detected the graphical card and installed/uninstalled the driver as needed during boot. It can delay the boot several seconds when you switch from one computer to another, though.

Put these lines on the file /etc/init/lightdm.conf at the end of the file. Should do the trick, but it's completely untested so be careful. If you run into problems booting just delete those lines and let me know.

pre-start script
    # Determine if plymouth is available
    if [ -x /bin/plymouth ] && /bin/plymouth --ping ; then
    # Checks if AMD card is present
    lshw -c display 2>/dev/null | grep AMD &>/dev/null
    if [ $? -eq 0 ] ; then
        # AMD graphics card found
        $PLYMOUTH message --text="AMD Graphics card found. Installing and configuring driver..." || :
        apt-get install -y fglrx-updates
        amdconfig --initial
        # AMD graphics card not found
        $PLYMOUTH message --text="AMD Graphics card not found. Purging driver..." || :
        apt-get purge -y fglrx-updates
        rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf
end script

Before a real-world testing, please ensure that lshw -c display 2>/dev/null | grep AMD returns at least one line on your AMD graphics computer. If not, please take a look at lshw -c display and adjust that grep AMD so it matches something only on that computer.

  • Hi! Thank you for the effort, man! I could not completely reinstall the fglrx ati drivers; the system is newly installed so what I did is reinstall ubuntu and went directly to copy-paste your code into the lightdm.conf file. However, with your code Ubuntu boots into a command line and not into its normal GUI. I deleted the lines from the command line using "sudo nano lightdm.conf", and now Ubuntu boots fine. But with no ati drivers and no solution, I still have the problem of running Ubuntu on a computer with an ati card. Any thoughts? – Daniel M May 1 '13 at 17:21

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