Warning: This is for testing only! Expect to screw up your X if you try this out. This page is meant to help testing of new upstream versions, to see if they fix Ubuntu bugs. If they do, a fix might be backported to the official packages, or they will be available in the next Ubuntu release.
If you only want to upgrade to newer, stable driver releases, see the X Updates PPA.
Ubuntu 8.04 ships with Xorg 7.3 and an updated xorg-server 1.4.
The 6.8.0 version of the ati (radeon) driver is in Hardy and also works with R500 cards (no 3D yet). Newer test packages are in https://launchpad.net/~tormodvolden/+archive/ppa
NB: from the 20080302 version, the -ati driver does not support mach64 and r128 cards any longer, they have their own drivers.
The new open-source, AMD-sponsored radeonhd driver for 1xxx-2xxx cards is in universe: xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd (2D only) A newer test version of xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd can be found in https://launchpad.net/~tormodvolden/+archive/ppa
The diagnosis tool rhd_conntest is not included in the driver package, but an x86 executable can be downloaded here.
mesa libraries, drm modules, xserver
Upgrading mesa libraries involves more dependencies on other libraries and kernel modules and is not so straight forward as a simple card driver package upgrade. See the "xorg crack testers" team PPA for mesa upgrades and corresponding driver packages.
Testing with a live CD/media
This is the safest way of testing. Download the xorg-edgers-live-test script from the Xorg packaging tools repository and copy it to a Ubuntu Desktop CD (I suppose you are using a bootable USB stick to avoid burning CDs anyway). Then boot the CD/media, switch to a virtual console with ctrl-alt-F1 and type:
sudo sh /cdrom/xorg-edgers-live-test
and it will automatically download the packages from the "xorg crack testers" team, build kernel modules and restart X, all inside the "live" session without touching your hard drive. See also the announcements on the Phoronix forum: -radeon and -intel
Please keep track of which packages you install manually or from a PPA. One way to revert to the standard versions, is to uninstall the packages sudo apt-get remove xserver-xorg-core etc, etc, and clean up /etc/apt/sources.list if you changed it, and reinstall from normal repositories: sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-core
You can also use apt-cache policy xserver-xorg-core to see what the version is in the main repository, then install this version with for instance:
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-core=2:1.6.0-0ubuntu4
To see if you have any packages installed from a PPA, run this command after disabling the PPA: apt-show-versions | grep -v uptodate
Building drivers yourself
You can grab the source from Ubuntu, Debian experimental/unstable, or a PPA and build them on your own system. Example for an -ati driver:
Find the experimental package from http://packages.debian.org/xserver-xorg-video-ati and download the .orig.tar.gz, .diff.gz and .dsc files.
sudo apt-get build-dep xserver-xorg-video-ati dpkg-source -x xserver-xorg-video-ati_6.6.191-1.dsc cd xserver-xorg-video-ati-6.6.191 # apply any test patches here debuild -b -us -uc cd .. sudo dpkg -i xserver-xorg-video-ati_6.6.191-1_i386.deb
In many cases it will build and install nicely without changes. Otherwise you'll have to patch it... The official Ubuntu source and patches (for older versions) can be found through for instance http://packages.ubuntu.com/xserver-xorg-video-ati . Download and unpack them with dpkg-source and look at the patches in the debian/patches directory.
To apply a patch (for example an upstream git commit), download the patch as raw text, and run
patch -p1 < $HOME/patch-to-be-tested.diff
in the patch step above.
See also the auto-xorg-git script from the xorg-edgers project which builds new packages from git with one simple command.
Latest drm kernel modules
If you would like to try the latest drm from git, you can use the easy-drm-modules-installer script which will assist you in downloading, compiling and installing the latest drm modules from upstream. Download it from the Xorg packaging tools repository.
The script should start by double-clicking on the downloaded file, however you might have to right-click on it -> Properties -> Permissions and enable "Execute" first.
If the latest drm version does not work, you can delete the drm-yyyymmdd directory which the script created, and download an older version and rename its "drm" directory to "drm-yyyymmdd" and put it in the same directory as the script. See bug #88905 for the origin of this script.
For unofficial Ubuntu packages of newer kernels, see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelMainlineBuilds