Gnome shell installed through software centre does not display top toolbar panel properly (missing text and icons), and when one of the icons on it eg user's name is clicked the menu popup has missing text. Also when searching for application after pressing the super key, the filter list on the right is also missing random text letters often replaced by small rectangular [] shape.

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EDIT: It's the ATI drivers (using Mobility Radeon 5650), but after it's un-installed gnome-panel falls back to classic only and the system has to be reinstalled for the gnome-panel to work again. If the ATI drivers are not installed even the login screen lags when typing password. Also the ATI (post-release) driver never installs properly, the standard however does.

  • that doesnt look like the default theme - what is it? Does it occur with the standard themes?
    – fossfreedom
    Sep 24, 2011 at 16:25
  • If you tried to use a Shell Theme probably you didn't "installed" it right. Sep 24, 2011 at 20:53
  • 1
    Reinstalled gnome-shell several times through both terminal and soft centre and the theme being used is "Adwaita".
    – Kashew
    Sep 26, 2011 at 9:18
  • not using any custom theme, its default.
    – Kashew
    Oct 7, 2011 at 7:26
  • 1
    As reported here the problem is the fglrx does not support 3.0 kernel. Can I suggest switching back to the standard natty kernel. Alternatively, you should download and install Catalyst 11.7 or Catalyst 11.6 from the ATI website.
    – user26581
    Oct 10, 2011 at 10:39

2 Answers 2


The new 12.1 are 100% working on both my mobility and desktop ATI card but only if the dependencies listed below are installed first (i.e. don't download off the installer and try to execute it otherwise it breaks gnome 3). To properly install 12.1, type the following in terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cdbs fakeroot dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++6 dkms libqtgui4 wget execstack libelfg0 dh-modaliases
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
cd ~/; mkdir catalyst12.1; cd catalyst12.1/
wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/amd-driver-installer-12-1-x86.x86_64.run
sh ./amd-driver-installer-12-1-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/oneiric
sudo dpkg -i fglrx*.deb
sudo aticonfig --initial -f

Then restart.

  • Did this work properly? Nov 1, 2011 at 5:25
  • 1
    yeah, it worked
    – Kashew
    Nov 2, 2011 at 10:17
  • This is pretty minor, but why is sudo apt-get install being run twice at the beginning? Couldn't ia32-libs be added onto the end of the first command and the second be eliminated? Jan 8, 2012 at 5:03
  • I wanna point out that ia32 isn't needed anymore, but this is a great help :D Jan 8, 2012 at 5:32
  • @ChrisWeigle, actually the 11.12 drivers require some 32-bit libraries. The ia32-libs metapackage will install them. Jan 8, 2012 at 20:01

I was having the same problem as reported and tried at least three fixes listed here and elsewhere. I finally found an Ubuntu Wiki entry that made everything just work on my ATI 4200 with Oneiric and gnome-shell from the Ubuntu standard repositories.

I don't know why this works, and after spending the better part of 2001 trying to make X work on Linux have absolutely no interest in figuring out why.

Pasted here for convenience, please consider the link more authoritative:

Problem: Need to fully remove -fglrx and reinstall -ati from scratch Here is a more aggressive recipe which removes both -fglrx and -ati, and reinstalls the latter:

sudo /usr/share/ati/fglrx-uninstall.sh  # (if it exists)
sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx*
sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon 
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-ati
sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri xserver-xorg-core
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
  • 2
    This is just switching back to the open source drivers which are pre-installed anyway. They are really laggy compared to fglrx which is the whole reason as to why i installed the latter and asked the question in the first place.
    – Kashew
    Oct 20, 2011 at 7:12

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