[mythtv-users] Mythbuntu on ATI Radeon 3200 chipset

Patrick Doyle wpdster at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 00:40:11 UTC 2009

Well, I got my hardware, hooked it all up, and am now trying to
determine if it works.

So, I've installed Mythbuntu 9.10...

Now I think I'm running into some problems with my graphics card.  I'm
not sure how much to worry about this, as I just have the box hooked
up to a VGA display instead of the HDMI TV for which it is destined,
but I figure, if I can't figure out what resources to use to make
things work now, it will only get more difficult when I move
everything out to the family room.

Here are the symptoms...
ATI Radeon HD 3200
$ lspci | grep
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon HD 3200 Graphics

I'm not sure how to check this, but it is the open source driver that
is built into the Mythbuntu distribution:
$ lsmod | grep radeon
radeon                684512  1
ttm                    43056  1 radeon
drm                   193856  3 radeon,ttm
i2c_algo_bit            7076  1 radeon

Paint Engine: Qt

Seems to work... I can watch TV, although I think I've seen some
stuttering at times.  (I haven't hooked speakers up to the audio yet)

Open Source driver, OpenGL paint engine
Menus fade in and out very slowly and poorly.

If I select System > Hardware Drivers and activate the ATI/AMD
proprietary graphics driver, and restart the computer (as directed by
the Hardware Drivers tool),  this is what I see: (with the Qt paint
Watch TV: I see 2 half height views of the same video

FWIW, this is what the Hardware Drivers tool has to say about the
proprietary graphics driver:
"This drive is required to fully utilise the 3D potential of some ATI
graphics cards, as well as provide 2D acceleration of newer cards."

If I switch to the OpenGL paint engine, this is what I see:
The menus fade from one to the other rather quickly and nicely
Watch TV: The screen displays

Please W...

and doesn't ever seem to show anything.  Eventually, I have to ssh in
and kill mythfrontend in order regain control of the display.
$ ps auxww | grep mythfrontend
wpd       2141 53.9 18.1 841260 325600 ?       SLsl 19:04   4:12
/usr/bin/mythfrontend.real --logfile /var/log/mythtv/mythfrontend.log
wpd       2303  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        Z    19:04   0:00
[mythfrontend.re] <defunct>

Incidentally, once I've enabled OpenGL (with the proprietary driver),
I can't get back into the settings menu to disable it again.  I have
to switch back to the open source driver in order to get into the
setup menu.

Some of you are probably thinking of the old joke where the patient
goes to see the doctor and says, "Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I go
like this!".  To which the doctor replies, "Well, don't go like this!"

Things seem to work with the open source driver and the Qt paint
engine.  Why mess with success?
Well for one, I'm not sure that everything does work fine.  I still
need to test some more.
I'm also not sure what's going to happen when I attempt to hook this
up to my TV via HDMI.  Should I expect the open source driver to
support HDMI?  It seems more likely that the proprietary driver will.

I am somewhat confused by the help text for the OpenGL paint engine,
which states:
"This selects what MythTV uses to draw.  If you have decent hardware,
select OpenGL."

It seems to me that the chipset on a brand new motherboard (ASRock
A780GMH/128M) with an AM3 socket CPU (AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor)
ought to be considered to be "decent hardware".

This is my first experience with Ubuntu 9.10.  I am learning that the
more things change, the more they are different.  For example, Ubuntu
9.10 doesn't  have an xorg.conf anymore, so I can't start looking
through that to start figuring out what I should google to search for
problems.  One problem that seems pretty obvious to me is the error
message I see in the window after I kill a mythfrontend that I started

XvMCWrapper: Could not load hardware specific XvMC library "libAMDXvBA.so"

any idea what the source of that error could be (other than the
obvious, "You're obviously missing the library!")?  Shouldn't that
library have been installed with the proprietary drivers?

Anyway, I'm going to keep looking, but I figured I turn to you helpful
experts as part of my search for answers.  Where can I look to start
learning about what I don't know?  For instance, what does Ubuntu
install when it installs the proprietary driver?  How do I know which
driver it installs?  Is there a newer one I could should try?  What's
the difference between Qt and OpenGL?  Is OpenGL really recommended
for newer hardware?  I thought I saw something about 0.22 (or possibly
the plan for 0.23) switching to a newer version of Qt.  Does that mean
that Qt should really be for newer hardware?  Do I sound dazed and


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