4.1. Alternative 1: Using XFree86's Radeon driver

This alternative requires XFree 4.2 or later, and the installation or upgrade to this version is beyond the scope of this HOWTO (visit The XFree86 Project for further information on how to upgrade or install XFree86). When XFree is installed and/or upgraded to the correct version, all you need to do is configure it. There are two ways of doing this that apply to all Linux distributions. You can either run xf86onfig, which is XFree86's own text-based configuration tool, or you can edit the configuration file by hand. Keep in mind that this HOWTO only describes how to configure the Radeon card, and XFree86 needs a lot more configuration than that to work.

If you choose to run xf86config, you will sooner or later come to the question, "Do you want to look at the card database? (y/n)". Answer y (yes), and press ENTER. Choose one of the cards that use the ati driver by keying in the number to its left and then pressing ENTER. Which card you choose does not matter, as long as you choose a card that runs the ati driver. You will then be asked to give an identifier string for your card. You can type anything you want, but I recommend you type something descriptive, such as "Radeon card". Finish the configuration process.

If you want to edit the configuration file manually, locate it (usually /etc/X11/XF86Config), and open it in your favorite editor. Find the place that says Section "Device". In this section, there should be a line saying Driver "somedrivername". Edit this line so it says Driver "ati". Comment out all other lines in the Device section (add a # in front of them). Your device section should now look like this:

Section "Driver"
Identifier "some_identifier" (the identifier is your choice, but if you edit it, 
make sure you update  every reference to it in the config file).
Driver "ati"

# ... 
# ...

You are now ready to run!

Configure the rest of XFree86, and you're ready to run!