Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tear free video on Ubuntu 12.04 with AMD drivers

Precise Pangolin may be a rock solid OS but I still can't stomach Unity. So I opted for Xubuntu 12.04 which uses XFCE instead of Unity. It made my old PC run like a beast again (on a 10 GB partition with one gig of RAM). Startup and shutdown in like 30 seconds and 7 seconds respectively. So I went ahead and installed Xubuntu on my work laptop alongside my Windows 7 partition. I run Word 2007 on WINE but still I cling to Windows like a security blanket. You know, if something goes wrong... Anyway, out of the box installation and I run into horrible video tearing on VLC when I play an episode from my anime collection. So I try installing the latest Radeon drivers from their website. Unfortunately they're not configured to work with the 3.2 kernel that Ubuntu and its flavours ships with. So I'm stuck with a corrupted install and my videos are still screwed. Finally out of frustration I Google the entire error message and I find that there is a forum post with EXACTLY the same query and its solved! HUZZAH!
I ended up purging my existing fglrx install, patching the install with some code uploaded on Ubuntu One and then building the .deb file from scratch. Of course I ran into dependency errors and had to download them from Synaptic Package Manager after weaving through the error messages in the Terminal. Finally I got a clean install of the patched deb file and I rebooted the system, accessed the AMD Catalyst Control Center and switched on the "Reduce Tearing" option. Clicked Apply and then ran the test video again. No tearing!!! An hour of torture but in the end, perseverance pays off! Also if anyone is interested, I'm running a Dell Studio with a Mobility Radeon HD 4500 series.
I haven't yet discarded this eventuality.

1 comment:

James Heywood said...

Ugh, lucky you. I don't even get the option "Reduce Tearing" in CCC. Such a frustrating issue, I've tried a lot of things to fix this, but alas, none have worked. At the moment I either use the open source drivers which are great for everything but gaming, or use AMD's rubbish propriety ones, which are good for gaming and nothing else.

I have "Wait for vertical refresh" and if I have that set to "always on", that doesn't help at all. Though oddly enough I didn't have this issue with 11.10 (well I did, but it was curable with compiz workarounds).

Rage :P