Three failed attempts at Ubuntu installation including Mate (AMD RX590)


After not using Linux for a while I reinstalled to get access to Linux version of games (only just found out that Descent 3 now has an a recently released enhanced native Linux version). However the installation has failed 3 times now. First with Ubuntu 20.10 when I updated to latest AMD provided amdgpu drivers. System then fails to boot. Then I installed 20.04 (whatever the previous release was) and amdgpu driver 20.50 still fails to install even though that was the recommended version of Ubuntu in driver release notes. This could have been due to a wrong kernel version ... but then why did AMD install script not warn me ?

So then I read about Mate having hidpi (4K) support and was expecting my display to scale up properly yet it never did. It's a secondary display via HDMI. While setting the primary display the Mate gui froze even though mouse pointer was still moving.

What on earth is going on here ? Please help if you can. I'm usually pretty good with Linux and have never had multiple failed installations like this. I suspect that ...

  1. The AMD RX 590 is the problem - Sapphire NITRO+ RX 590 8G G5 SE. How do I get proper drivers and the full Radeon control panel ?

  2. I installed to a secondary partition and put the grub bootloader on the same partition (not at the top of primary) as I can boot straight to that partition from UEFI bios and did not want the Windows bootloader replaced.

  3. I notice the installer has some UEFI driver stuff like asking for a password. Yet I was never asked for this password. Could this be a problem ? Yet I can boot into Mate.

  4. How do I get Mate to scale up everything on my 4K display (3840x2160 ?).

Any help appreciated !

1 - You don't need to install drivers. Open Source drivers are already in your install. If you want the latest drivers for whatever reason, you can use Oibaf's PPA. You'll have drivers updates every few days that might crash your system (freezes/black screens on boot) every once in a while. If you're usually pretty good with Linux, you'll know what to do with ppa-purge.

There's no «full Radeon control panel» with MESA drivers. You can use corectrl as an alternative but don't expect to find the similar bloated/flashy gamer/mostly useless one available for Windows.

I don't know whether the proprietary AMD drivers come with a control panel. AMD forums might be a better place to look for solutions if you cannot install their proprietary drivers.

2 - Usually for dual boot, I install Windows, then Linux and both are available in GRUB. Should an OS be missing for whatever reason (or GRUB not available after a big Windows feature update), I would boot on a live CD, install and run boot-repair and let it fix my bootloader automatically for me, so that all choices are available again.

3 - Not an issue. I don't enter the secure boot password stuff when rebooting after an install without problems.

4 - HiDPi settings are located in MATE Tweak. I have no idea how it handles several displays with different resolutions though.

Tanks. I'll try the PPA. CoreCtrl looks good as well.

I looked in Mate Tweak but could not see the HiDPI settings. Is it in fonts ?

I found the original problem that threw me. I assumed that the AMDGPU PRO drivers came with extra stuff not realising that its specifically for the AMD "Pro" range of cards that I did not know even existed until now. Why did the script not check the GPU compatibility ?

So the AMD official drivers (20.50) now install as well as the PPA one's. However how do I tell if the driver is actually updated. I keep seeing 19.1 in Xorg log although AMD driver is 20.50

You might want to check the Ubuntu MATE Guide (that is also in your distro) if you don't find something, it is actually well made.

I believe it's called Pro because it adds OpenCL stuff. It's not limited to their pro GPUs.

You're not supposed to run the proprietary AMD drivers and open source ones together. I guess you have to fiddle with kernel flags to use a driver instead of the other.

If you've added the PPA and done your updates, you're up to date. As for the proprietary drivers, I don't know if you have to update them manually.