Although I should have given up on Linux after the initial steep learning curve I kept at it. Recently I decided to install the ATI Radeon proprietary drivers, but that resulted in horrible video tearing in VLC player (1.1.9) on my Mint 10 box. After a bit of snooping around forums, I found a solution to the problem.
How to: Install ATI/AMD Linux driver and ensure video tearing doesn't occur
Visit the ATI website and download the driver after mentioning the series of your driver (mine being Mobility Radeon HD 4500 series) and specifying the OS as Linux_x86. The latest version is 11.4 (April 2011) and installs the ATI display driver as well as the Catalyst center.
Download the .run file and save to Downloads folder. Navigate to the folder using cd in a terminal and execute the following command: (Note: the installation must be done as root user using sudo)
sudo chmod +x nameoffile.run
Follow the off-terminal windows and click next to install, the files. Reboot to refresh the system files.
Check the installation by typing fglrxinfo in a terminal. If the output says "Mesa" in the third or fourth line, the installation is incorrect.
Also check installation by running this graphics 3D test. In a terminal:
If the squares have gears in them of different colors and are spinning, installation is successful.
Run the ATI Catalyst Control Center from the search feature. In Linux Mint, go to Menu and type in “ATI” in the search bar.
Under Display options choose “Tear Free” and hit the Enable Tear Free Desktop to reduce tearing radio button. Hit Apply and you're done.
Load a video with fast movements and check for video tearing. With all luck you should be set.
* Disclaimer: I'm a newbie to Linux and this tutorial may or may not lead to complications. So I'm not to be held responsible for anything that happens to your box. As always back up your stuff and be careful!