Restricted Drivers Manager vs Envy

By | 2007/10/26

I have done a bit of testing for Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon” on some of our classroom machines this week. These machines are Dell Dimension 4600 with ATI Radeon video cards. Well, as has been my experience with ATI and nVidia with Linux they are a pain in the butt. …all ranting aside I wanted to share how I got them to work on Ubuntu 7.10.

Restricted Drivers Manager

My first attempt was to use the Ubuntu Restricted Drivers Manager that pops up when I first logged into the new installation. This offered, installed and configured an ATI driver… but it didn’t give me direct rendering or allow me to configure the compiz fusion fanciness.

Envy

I was then reminded of a little tool we call Envy (Thanks again Alberto!) so I figured I’d give that a try. I figured one way or the other this machine is going to have to get the non-free cooties, so I may as well go all out and use Envy. I am happy to report that a simple installation of Envy gave me all the effects that I needed and was *so simple*!

If you’re having some trouble fighting with your non-free video card I would suggest trying the Envy tool.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Download Envy
  2. Open with GDebi Package Installer
  3. Check for 3D rendering (glxinfo | grep ‘direct rendering’)

I don’t know how much simpler it can get than that.

Update: If these minimal steps do not work for you (which I’m finding is the case on more cards than the ones I initially tested on you’ll need to do a few more things:

  1. Launch the graphical Envy installer tool (ALT-F2 “gksudo envy -g”)
  2. Select the driver you need installed (ATI on nVidia)
  3. Follow the steps toward installation
  4. Check for 3D rendering (glxinfo | grep ‘direct rendering’)

If all of these steps don’t work I’m not sure what to tell you.  They’ve worked on the cards that I’ve personally tested but I’m sure there are far more cards out there than I can get my hands on.  The best bet at that point is to probably check out the Ubuntu Forums for support.

17 thoughts on “Restricted Drivers Manager vs Envy

  1. Andrew Conkling

    Great to know! I’ve been resisting trying out Envy solely because it’s third-party, but I didn’t realize it could do all this in 2 simple steps (I’m sorry, that isn’t 3 there ;).

    Thanks for posting; I’ll post back after I try.

    Reply
  2. Level 1

    So I assume that means you are now using fglrx. A few months ago, fglrx didn’t support aiglx so you had to use xgl to get compiz (which is retarded)…. has that been fixed?

    Also, theres a lot of other shakiness with the driver that forced me to choose vesa, in particular suspend to ram support sucks. Has this improved?

    Reply
  3. Mike

    Thanks for this Envy tutorial. I have reinstalled Ubuntu a couple of times on one desktop with a Nvidia video card and each time I started the restricted drivers I ended up with a black screen. Knowing how to use Envy, my new toy is working just fine.

    Reply
  4. Andrew Conkling

    OK, posting back. Indeed it worked. Though I had one additional step:

    Once I rebooted after Envy did its thang, when I enabled Desktop Effects I was prompted to access the Restricted Drivers Manager to enable NVidia’s proprietary driver. After I rebooted, all is well.

    Not sure if the driver didn’t get installed correctly, but I expect Envy did a lot of xorg.conf magic. (I’m not looking; this is Gutsy! ;)

    Reply
  5. andrewsomething

    I imamgine that Envy the newest (just out a few day back) ATI driver that doesn’t need XGL. It just missed making it into Gutsy.

    But using XGL in Gutsy is a lot easier than in other releases. After you install XGL with the included ATI drivers, Gutsy configures every thing behind the scene for you. No editing you Xorg or GDM at all.

    Reply
  6. bubba

    You might want to mention that envy can cause problems in the long run for a system. I do belive that if a kernel update happens. one must rerun the envy script to reinstall the drivers. There may be other issues as well.

    Reply
  7. nosrednaekim

    from the bot in the ubuntu IRC channel:

    [07:31] envy is a script that may leave you envious of those who have not used it, use the resticted manager to install binary drivers or use the instructions on the wiki, this script may break your machine very badly!

    Reply
  8. MozartLovesUbun2

    sorry it didnt work for me

    1. Download Envy
    2. Open with GDebi Package Installer
    3. Check for 3D rendering (glxinfo | grep ‘direct rendering’)

    ———-
    DELL Inspiron 6400/1505e, 2 GB Ram, Intel CoreDuo T2500 @ 2.00GHz
    ATi X1400 (1680×1050 widescreen) 128MB, Intel 3945 PRO/Wireless
    120GB (partitioned:sda1 /, sda2 /home, “sda3 /windows” & 1.5GB Swap)
    Ubuntu – Gutsy 7.10
    ———-

    envy is up and running but i cant get the desktop effects

    Reply
  9. Michael

    Didn’t work for me either. “The Composite extension is not available.”

    Reply
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  12. Ricky

    I have a Geforce 4 MX440, I had to run Envy after installing it ( ‘sudo envy -g’) and select my videocard. It did the right thing for me — it downloaded the legacy driver from nvidia, downloaded everything needed to recompile it, compiled it, installed it, and updated my xconfig. I rebooted as instructed and all is SO SWEEt. It took me days to research and do all this the last time I installed Debian (etch).

    Reply
  13. Tim

    Geforce 6150.

    I had removed Envy. I reinstalled Envy, removed the Nvidia driver, reinstalled the Nvidia driver and all was good. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  14. Toby Deemer

    This did not work for me. I tried using Envy to uninstall and then reinstall the ATI driver, and I still get “The Composite extension is not available.”

    I have a Gateway laptop with an AMD Turion 64 processor, 1GB of ram, 60GB hd.

    Reply
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