To upgrade or not to upgrade?

I have updated a couple of my Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) installations to Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) but not yet my primary laptop. I was about to do that tonight (isn’t starting something at 22:00 a grea idea?) but the upgrade procedure showed me the message below, making me postpone the upgrade and write this blog post instead:

This computer is currently using the AMD ‘fglrx’ graphics driver. No version of this driver is available that works with your hardware in Ubuntu 9.04.

My graphics card (three years old by now) is described by lspci as an ATI Technologies Inc M56GL [Mobility FireGL V5200] and apparently these are no longer supported by the properitary fglrx driver. The Open Source radeon driver is rumoured to be pretty good these days but “never change something that works” is pretty useful on laptop where for example Suspend should work.

Speaking of the graphics card, dual-head with my LG L1510SF touch screen monitor works, but the touch stuff needs some tweaking and I’ll get back to that in another blog post.

4 Replies to “To upgrade or not to upgrade?”

  1. Can you roll back to an earlier driver? Maybe there will be problems with the recent xorg ABI changes.

    I’ve had my share of problems with graphics drivers for Linux, as the NVIDIA proprietary package has had broken suspend and bad dirty rect handling for far too long. I don’t even know if it’s working yet, haven’t seen any artifacts and suspend only breaks one out of five times (yay).

    Of course if you ask RMS and gang, an open source driver is preferable at any cost, but I’m not willing to lose compositing (Compiz).

  2. @Carl

    I think that the X.Org ABI changes will prevent me from running an older version of the proprietary driver.

    Compositing is not so important for me so I haven’t examined such support in the Open Source driver.

    Things will probably work with the Open Source driver but I don’t really have the time to fix my system if it doesn’t work after upgrading.

  3. I see what you mean. :/

    Maybe popping in a gNewSense live CD would give you a preview of how it’d work.. hm.

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