I'm returning to eOs after using Freya for a while and have successfully installed ElementaryOs 5.1 on an iMac (2009 or so, believe it was 11,2) and really like the updates y'all have made!

I'm having one issue that I cannot resolve, it seems widespread: on boot, I have to add nomodeset to the grub boot options for the display to show anything. The OS boots and I can turn the volume up and down, open a terminal and run commands, just no GUI! Doing day to day things with nomodeset is ok, but even basic web development running Atom, Chromium and a local server in terminal is causing crashes so I'd love to get this sorted and use the GPU!


~ lspci

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV730/M96-XT [Mobility Radeon HD 4670]
01:00.1 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV710/730 HDMI Audio [Radeon HD 4000 series]

~ glxinfo | grep OpenGL

OpenGL vendor string: VMware, Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: llvmpipe (LLVM 8.0, 128 bits)
OpenGL core profile version string: 3.3 (Core Profile) Mesa 19.0.8
OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 3.30
OpenGL core profile context flags: (none)
OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile
OpenGL core profile extensions:
OpenGL version string: 3.1 Mesa 19.0.8
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.40
OpenGL context flags: (none)
OpenGL extensions:
OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.0 Mesa 19.0.8
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.00
OpenGL ES profile extensions:

~ uname -r


CPU from about: Dual-Core Intel® Core™ i3 CPU         540  @ 3.07GHz
GPU from about: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV730/M96-XT [Mobility Radeon HD 4670]
4GB ram, 500gb storage

What I've tried:

  • installing proprietary AMD drivers from their website, crashed the whole thing had to reinstall
  • some software from Poland? Netext73, can't recommend it, was not even able to purge the thing
  • installing update manager and using the "additional drivers" tab to detect drivers, no drivers are detected here much to my chagrin
  • I did accept the third party drivers & software during installation

This similar question suggests using fglrx, could someone explain what that means and how to do that? Getting a little tired of reinstalling the OS and would love to just get it right the next time!

I did some digging about it and found https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/AMD, indicating that after ubuntu 16.04, only open source radeon drivers are available, radeon and AMDGPU. The radeon home page lead me to this package: xf86-video-ati, which I see is not installed on my system, is that the one need? Running man radeon did output a list that includes my GPU...

Neither apt install radeon nor apt install xf86-video-ati resulted in any packages being found and I'm reading that the necessary driver should have come with ubuntu by default, so why do I only get a screen with nomodeset?

Update: when I attach a second monitor by hdmi that second monitor works without issue. On the connected monitor I can control the brightness, with nomodeset on the original built in display I cannot... potential clues?


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