Want to make a permanent switch to linux

This question is mainly for Wickedwig and Zoltan. As they are the resident linux-masters.

Although anyone is welcome to help me out.


I want to make the full switch over to linux. I do need some help though.

First off. I am willing to try ANY distro that has a GNOME interface available. Its what ive used, and what im comfortable with. I do like GNOME 2 better than GNOME 3, but i'll take what I can get.


Im "Trying" to run Ubuntu 13.4 right now, maybe upgrading to 13.10, but the MAIN thing I need is.

WORKING hardware acceleration for my dual 7950 set-up.


Hell, If i can get a single 7950 to have hardware acceleration, with knowledge of support for crossfire later, i would be happy.


I've tried installing drivers via catalyst, terminal, the open source drivers. Nothing works. I either get a no graphics mode error, or lines and artifacts across my screen.


So if anyone could tell me a distro that has working support for my 7950s, or tell me how to actually get them to have hardware acceleration, i will gladly switch.


Frankly, its the ONLY reason that I have not. My laptop is already running linux, with intel graphics.


I believe i tried this, and always got lines on my screen. Made it completely unusable. However, I will try again, thanks.

Yeah I would love to make a permanent switch over to Linux just like yourself, but I run to many "Windows Only" programs :(

Looks like it's still dual-boot, for now..

Im going to use WINE, or a virtual machine for those, as Virtual machines can access hardware as normal, and you can get about 90% performance. But until Hardware acceleration, i refuse to switch. Trying the above process now, though.


Well It looks like I have hardware acceleration now. After following the above guide. I ran Mozillas Hardware acceleration test before i installed them and got 44FPS, afterward I got 60+.

But now I get screen glitches, and lines. Anyone know how to fix that?

WINE... meh, I would like to see it run faster it's abit too slow for my liking, as is CrossOver in Linux. Anyway this Hardware Acceleration sounds promising.

I would really love to see you get dual 7950's working, that would be pretty damn cool.

Okay. I'm getting lines and glitches. But when I try to record my desktop, the glitches dont appear in the video on a different PC. Only on the one with linux. Ill try an external recording source.

Sounds like a plan, also what happens when you take a screenshot? Do the lines appear in the image on the Linux PC.

When viewing the image on the linux PC, it has lines, probably being caused by the bad drivers, viewing it on another PC, there are no lines.


Debian has an option to use the GNOME environment. This distro is the best option for beginners to Linux, or to easily set up some sort of server, or if you do want a Linux distro without the odds and stupidity. The downside of it though is that its libraries can get outdated predominantly, but that's nothing.

Im not completely new. I've been using it on and off since Ubuntu first started getting around. I just want these damn drivers to work. Haha.

I think he's fine with literally any linux distro, but the fact is none of the drivers work without artifacts and glitching

So I may have fixed it. Underscan was active. I set it to normal and it seems to be working now...


Who feels like an idiot? This guy.

Anyone know if this is a good glmark2 Score? 4929...

Good to know. Which games do you usually play? Can you run them successfully?

Thing with AMD graphics is that the old kernel patches for catalyst were utter crap. The new ones aren't so much anymore, so anything above kernel 3.11.4 should work fine, at least, that is my experience. Ubuntu is a bit of an odd bird with graphics sometimes, has to do with jockey and their way of doing things I suppose, I don't know really, I never quite connected with the Ubuntu experience.

I can tell you that it works in Arch and Fedora, both with RadeonSI and Catalyst.

If you like Gnome 2 better than Gnome 3, XFCE or MATE are the way to go. I have switched to XFCE on my machines this weekend because Gnome 3 was starting to get on my nerves, and KDE gets on my nerves even more, and I'll sit the present version of Gnome out until they fix stuff, in fact, I've decided to sit Wayland and Mutter and KWin and all that jazz out until it's all a bit more evolved, and then I'll decide, I don't want to lose time with it now, that's why I use XFCE for now, just X11. MATE is not nearly as fast and/or stable and/or customizable as XFCE, but it is another option that seems to be quite popular these days.

I do use Xubuntu for time to time just because by being based on XFCE and avoiding post-X11-experiments, it generally works fine, unlike Ubuntu. Xubuntu 13.10 should be based on a pretty recent kernel 3.11, so should work fine with AMD Catalyst, but I've not tested it.

I would definitely not recommend a dual boot anymore these days. There is just too much problem solving and creating problems involved in that, it doesn't make the windows install any safer, and it's just a drag to reboot to use another OS. I would definitely go for a linux-only install with Windows in a virtualbox. Even for those that don't have a hardware-virtualization capable system, in Oracle Virtualbox (if it decides to not screw up the kernel), the performance is more than good enough to use Windows securily and play games on it or run Adobe crap on it. This is really the way to go, because at that point, you configure the Windows container to pass through the linux firewalld (and with the new linux netfilter coming out very soon the performance thereof will yet again improve), with the "blocking" profile enabled. It speeds up windows like you wouldn't believe, and keeps it nice and clean and safe. I have to say that I actually enjoy the Windows 7 experience running in a secure linux virtual container, it's a much more fluid and relaxing experience than running Windows on bare metal, because let's face it, any repair utilities for Windows just don't work as they should, and there are so many problems all the time that it's enormously time intensive. Well, with Windows in a linux container, that's not the case, because you can easily snapshot the container, and if it's borked, you just load the previous working snapshot and you don't lose time with problems. Running windows in a linux container is how windows should be used, it solves a lot of problems.

I would also very strongly recommend everyone upgrading their system or buying a new system to make sure that they have a full hardware virtualization capable system. Why? Because it's the best thing ever! It means that you can allocate all the system resources to the Windows container (except about 500 MB of RAM the base linux system will reserve to keep vital services running). In a software virtualbox (without hardware virtualization), you have to reserve one core and a portion of the RAM and a portion of the GPU memory to the base system, and those resources are not available to the Windows container. This is not such a big deal, because Windows hardly scales well on multi-core systems, so you're not losing that much performance, but there is still a performance hit in some games and applications. With hardware virtualization, the container can use ALL (except the about 500 MB of RAM) system resources at the same time as the linux base system, and can run it's own drivers for the graphics card directly. That means that you can install the normal catalyst driver in the windows container, and it will run just as fast as a bare metal windows install and with exactly the same features and functions. In fact, because Windows can't do as much behind your back anymore, because you configure it's network access to not go directly to the hardware NIC but instead through the linux base system NAT/netfilter, wait times are much less, you don't have to run an antivirus daemon in windows, etc... which speeds Windows up considerably. As I said, this is the best way to enjoy Windows.

Now for the not-so-great stuff:

- this all seems to work flawlessly with Windows 7, but not with Windows 8. I don't know what Microsoft did to prevent it from working properly, but they most certainly did some nasty stuff. It's extremely hard to get Windows 8 to work in software virtualization, it's not hard with hardware virtualization. So people with a system that is not capable of full hardware virtualization, should really stick with Windows 7. Things may change, 20 years of technological evolution might not be much in Windows terms, but in linux terms, 4 months is like the difference between medieval and futuristic. I'm sharing my experience with the situation as it is right now. I'm also using bleeding edge linux distros with the latest kernels, which is also a difference, especially with AMD and Intel GPUs. People that use nVidia GPUs might want to chose a conservative distro with an older kernel, as nVidia proprietary drivers (that used to be really good and up to date) just don't seem to work on newer kernels without some serious hacking and patching, and to be honest, the source of many patches is a bit iffy. I use RedHat patches myself, and they work but it's not the greatest thing ever, and I trust them, but RedHat doesn't push them in their repos, and there is certainly a reason for this. The reason might well be that they have a deal with nVidia to get some extra information to be able to keep their RedHat customers using nVidia crap up and running, but they're using closed source code to get to that point, and therefore they can't include the patches in their repos.

- there is an incompatibility between nVidia proprietary kernel headers and virtualbox kernel header. Both are proprietary, and compile proprietary code into the kernel so that they may work. I don't know what's worse for the moment, the nVidia crap or the virtualbox crap. I have removed both from all my systems now, because they both stress me out. With AMD catalyst and virtualbox, I don't know, I don't use virtualbox that much, I try to use kvm as much as possible, and in such a constellation, I only need the Windows Catalyst drivers, I just use RadeonSI and some special sauce in linux (just to be able to run 5 AMD GPUs are the same time on one Opteron system, and it works flawlessly and was a breeze to set up, of course, this is for HPC experiments, not for gaming graphics).


Now all politics and frustration about commerce aside, this is how I use things from a practicality standpoint:

- All my computers run only linux on the bare metal, I don't use anything else but open source software on them, which means that I use only html5 instead of flash, but I do have gnash because I want to look at the flash coded online newsletter that I have to read in my line of work and the retarded organisation that distributes it hasn't discovered html5 yet. I only use open source graphics drivers, and I have no problems with AMD and Intel graphics even for playing some pretty crazy open source linux games. I don't have steam for linux anymore because it's not open source and it's 32-bit only, so equally retarded and unworthy of the 21st century, and I don't want to deal with that anymore.

- I use Windows in a virtual container. On my laptop, which is Intel+nVidia based, I don't have hardware virtualization, because Intel has a retarded policy when it comes to blocking core functionality, and nobody seems to make laptops with the i7-4900M CPU on the Q87 chipset, so that means only software virtualization. I use kvm/QEmu because it's open source, virtualbox or wmware aren't. QEMU is not that fast, it's not a mindblowing experience. But even if I were to use virtualbox, it means that Windows can't fully use the proprietary windows graphics drivers. Even with QEMU, it still performs more than nice enough for some Adobe crap and other windows-only software I have to use like the accounting suite (most tax authority approved accounting softwares are windows-only, very few are even Mac-compatible, almost none are linux-compatible, which is also retarded). On my desktop PC's, which are AMD based or Intel Xeon-based, I do have hardware virtualization, and I'm using the proprietary windows graphics drivers in the windows containers, because they access the graphics card directly, and the performance is really good, there is no performance penalty at all, I would say with the netfiltering that the linux base system does, it's actually faster than a bare metal install. And yes, Steam and online games work perfectly fine even with a blocking firewalld profile, allowing only "established, related" traffic. In fact, since I gave up dual booting Windows and using Windows only in a virtual container in linux, my degree of frustration with Windows has dropped considerably (Windows 7 that is, I still despise Windows 8).

- I only use the Windows container for software for which there is no linux option. All my daily use-software is native linux open source software. I obviously also don't use Microsoft filesystems, because they're utter crap, I only use linux filesystems, which again delivers great speed and storage economy benefits, and they don't fragment like microsoft filesystems. Even my USB thumdrives are formatted in ext2 or ext4, not in FAT, and everything is encrypted with LUKS, in other words, I can't read or write to anything but the linux windows-container's dedicated storage from the windows container, so it can do no damage to my system or my data, it can't even read it, and my linux base system is all open source: I don't even use TrueCrypt because it's not entirely open source as it should be, I use RealCrypt instead (which is exactly the same but without secret code, RealCrypt can read and write TrueCrypt volumes, so there is no feature disadvantage), but that's only to be able to read data from others, I only use LUKS for encryption myself because RealCrypt is not the best performing encryption software in the world. I'm not an encryption freak, I only use it for stuff I'm paid for to keep confidential, and the most simple solution is to encrypt data partitions with LUKS, it provides easy access if needed, and it excludes liabilities, and costs no time to use. I don't encrypt system partitions, I don't encrypt messages, I don't encrypt personal files, I don't care enough for my personal data for that, and I know what to expect from open source software, so I'm not even worried that much. By excluding access to storage from the Windows container, any data leakage through closed source software vulnerabilities and malware, is made impossible. Practical solution for a common problem. For those that want to store the output of their work in Windows so that they can process it in their base system, and don't use network storage for that (for instance, you've made a photoshop edit and want to store it locally before sending it via email or uploading it via sftp), that's easy to solve too, you just configure one single folder in the /home volume to be shared storage, and you'll be able to save to that folder, and open it from linux, without giving Windows access to anything else.

- When Windows is a guest OS in a linux container, whether through software or hardware virtualization, it can be opened and closed or resized or minimized or put on another screen or virtual desktop just like any other application window. I run the Windows virtual container full screen on a second desktop, because I find that practical. I just click on the second desktop icon and I'm in Windows, click on another virtual desktop icon and I'm back in linux.

- Many people want to go linux and install it in a virtual box in Windows. That is the worst thing ever, because it won't give a satisfying linux experience because Windows sucks at virtualization, and it won't add anything to the safety of the system. Other people still prefer a dual boot scenario. That is inconvenient, because you have to reboot to change operating system, and Windows always has to be installed first because the Windows installer overwrites the MBR and destroys any linux install that would already be on the HDD, so the Windows OS will be installed in the center of the HDD where the data density is high, and an afterwards installed linux OS for dual booting, will be on the outside of the harddisk, and running on the stupidly inefficient NTFS filesystem, which seriously inhibits the performance in linux, which will not give the full linux experience. So virtualization in my opinion is the best solution with the most benefits, of course, the benefits are greater on a system with hardware virtualization.

That's the way it works for me. I've tried dual-booting for a long time, but it just isn't that great, and with the present virtualization technology in linux, there is no need for it anymore.

Glad that it worked for you.