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I need to look for a laptop that will work flawlessly with Ubuntu, I know that Intel video cards nearly always have open source driver(rare exceptions exist) and that NVidia's proprietory driver works good, however I have trouble with ATI, it has a zillion models, some having open source driver, some only proprietory, which is usually a trainwreck.

Which is the best place I can check any video card model(especially ATI) if it has a proper open source driver or not?

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I think the best place to check the compatibility of a component with ubuntu is...

The Ubuntu Website ;) in fact there's a part of this site where you can find the detail of compatibility per component : http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/catalog

In your case check here :

http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/catalog/category/VIDEO

You'll find all the video card compatible with Ubuntu.

Else you can check on Linux Hardware Compatibility List Website

I hope It could help

  • The Ubuntu video card link you posted says, "The following video components are contained in Ubuntu-certified systems." So, no, you won't find all of the video cards compatible with Ubuntu, you'll only find ones that happen to be in a system that's Ubuntu-certified. – Firefeather May 6 '11 at 20:00
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For ATI, the definitive place to look is the X.Org development page at http://www.x.org/wiki/radeon

To figure out whether your AMD/ATI card is supported, you need to figure out the card series. For example, an ATI X1200 is an R400 series graphics card, which is supported with the open-source (ATI) driver.

To find what series is your AMD/ATI card, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_AMD_graphics_processing_units

There is intensive work on X.Org, such as modesetting, TV-Out, HDMI Audio. So, things may not work well due to a bug. So, an Ubuntu user should be able to know with Radeon Series their card is, and which driver they are currently using, when reporting problems.

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