[Hampshire] How to de-install non-free Radeon drivers withou…

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Author: Imran Chaudhry
To: Hampshire LUG Discussion List
Subject: [Hampshire] How to de-install non-free Radeon drivers without uninstalling all of X.org
I've been helping someone set-up a Linux laptop upon which I installed
Debian 9 "Stretch".

The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite CH50-D11Q which has a GPU installed
- an ATI Radeon 7000 HD series.

I selected the MATE desktop and the default install used the
opensource ATI drivers - however while the system was usable the
screen brightness did not work correctly.

When I realized that an ATI Radeon GPU was present I then installed
the linux-firmware-nonfree package thinking that it would unlock the
full power of the GPU. On reboot however we found that although the
screen brightness could now be controlled, the graphical desktop was
slower than the opensource drivers. Moving windows shows a visible
re-draw and using a browser scrolling web pages seems to be slow.

After some Googling, I tried instead to install the ATI "Catalyst"
Linux package from the ATI site but on running it reported my X.org
server version to be too old.

I then attempted to downgrade to the opensource drivers by
uninstalling the Xorg packages with "radeon" in their names but this
wanted to uninstall ALL ox Xorg.

Since the laptop user is non-technical, I did not want to proceed
further with the fear that they may end up with a broken system.

Can anyone suggest a way to downgrade cleanly? It sounds like I might
need to install the opensource ATI/Radeon package which might have
been uninstalled when I installed the nonfree one?


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