Linux Question - running 2.5 builds from

So I’ve recently gotten the bug to install Linux (Ubuntu 9.10) on an old laptop of mine. I’ve never used linux and have a been a windows user forever. My main machine is a Windows 7 hot rod. Though Blender I’ve become a huge fan of the open-source movement and thus led to my installing Ubuntu on my old Dell Inspiron 9400.

My whole reasoning for installing Linux would be to use the machine to do renders. Also in my high hopes I would love to learn more about Python and extending the capabilities of blender.

I’m a devoted graphic designer having worked with Adobe Illustrator, photoshop, After Effects for over a decade. Blender is awesome and I’ve been working with it for about 4 years on and off, but never kept it up. With the release of 2.5, I’ve been learning more than I have in the past few years.

Previously I had the Windows 7 RC installed on this machine. I was able to completely wipe out the system and do a clean install of Ubuntnu 9.10. From that process I learned two things.

  1. Broadcom drivers on my system were tricky to install
  2. my video card driver might be hopeless (ATI Radeon Mobility X1400)

There were some sizeable speed bumps getting linux going. But now it’s rolling and i’m super psyched with how snappy it is. But now that I’m trying to run blender on it, i’m running into lots of weird stuff. Biggest thing being I’m having tons of issues trying to run builds I’ve gotten a couple of the recent builds to run after installing all sorts of different packages. I tried to build my own build from the instructions on I tried it using cmake, but that crashed and didn’t work.

The builds I have gotten to work seem to have issues with the video redraw. It crashes each time a new render window opens (but doesn’t crash if the render is inside the interface).

This isn’t mission critical for me to get this working, I just thought it’d be fun to try out. But i’m starting to loose steam on my motivation. Is it worth it for me to keep Ubuntu installed on this machine? Or do these settings just not work well with Linux? Should I try a different distro, one that might work with my wireless/video cards?

Any advice or direction from anyone would be much appreciated.

Hello and welcome to the great world of FREE software

“But i’m starting to loose steam on my motivation”…well, not yet a “huge fan”, maybe? :wink:

Keep in mind that the “core” of all Linux distributions is, more or less the same, and most “drivers” too.
And, most “hardware vendors” don’t release Linux drivers, and when they do it, support is lacking!
Blender have many problems with ATI cards, have you the “accelerated drivers” installed?

And versions are sometimes unusable!
Ubuntu is based in the rock solid Debian, so, its a good choice, but it don’t hurts to try others ( Fedora, Suse…)
Install Virtual Box, and you can try any distro without install!

OTO, thanks for the reply! Haven’t lost all the steam yet!

So “accelerated drivers” I’m assuming is the fglrx drivers. But unfortunately they don’t support my video card “radeon X1400”. As for Ubuntu, i’ll probably keep that installed and maybe try out a few distros through Virtual Box as you said.

So with Blender running poorly. I can hardly get the builds to run, but I also seem to have problems with 2.49 as well. That leads me to believe that the issue is more with my computer (possibly video card) rather than the actual builds themselves.

When I had Windows 7 running on this laptop, I had no problems at all running windows builds from, only now that I have linux installed am I have problems. But then again, might just be poor vendor support or lack of it for some of the hardware on my laptop. I’m hoping that since I used to be able to run blender really easily and fairly fast on Windows on this machine, that I could get it to run even better on Linux.

I’m not about to give up on this, I’m going to keep Ubuntu installed as it works quite nicely. But does anyone have any suggestions of something I might be able to do to get 2.5 running on this machine? Or at the very least, somehow get it to where I can render 2.5 project files on this machine from a command line?

As always, thanks to the blender community for all your help.

Hi again
after this site your graphics card should work?!

You’ve got two things working against you:

  1. The 3D ATI drivers for Linux are very sketchy right now. Their development has been accelerating as the development for mesa/gallium/ has seriously ramped up in the last 2 years, but they are still full of land mines. They will require some active searching around the web and forums to get them working correctly. Ubuntu probably has some documentation pages to assist you. That would be the best place to start if you haven’t already.

  2. Graphicall build can be confusing. Often the people building them fail to provide info about critical things such as static vs dynamic linking, versions of libraries they are using, compiler options used, etc. All of those can have a huge impact on how the code runs and what is needed for it to run correctly.

I would recommend first getting your video card issues worked out. It may be rough, but I’m sure you could find something that to some extent, works fairly well. I’ve personally avoided ATI cards for this very reason, so I’m not well informed on the details of what is possible with your specific chip.

Secondly, I would advise learning to build it yourself rather than relying of graphicall builds. Ubuntu is not primarily a development machine, so you would have to install a extra packages to get things to build. Many libraries also come with things like include files and source code needed to compile other programs that use them. But since Ubuntu in not primarily geared towards development, these extra files are split off into separate packages and you have to install them separately. (I’m on Gentoo, where that is never an issue due to how the distro is designed) Once you get that worked out though, you’re builds will always work on your machine and will always be more stable than when is available from Graphicall. First step to get that working is don’t build using cmake. I love cmake, and personally prefer it to scons, but it doesn’t get near as much attention as scons does in Blender development, so you will have much better success in using scons build scripts. There are people here who can help you set your scons config up if you need help with that.

FishB8, thanks for advice. I really do appreciate it.

1) ATI Driver issue.
I understand no one is going to be able to give me a perfect formula to magically make everything work brilliant. Being absolutely void of Linux knowledge/experience, I’m finding all kinds of tutorials/drivers/forum posts on stuff that might work for me.

But I’m spending a lot of time in terminal “sudo’ing” a lot of stuff… when maybe I shouldn’t be doing that. I feel like I’m clogging my system up with random stuff, but only because I have no clue of what I’m doing. I’ll keep searching around and maybe start a thread in the Ubuntu forum and see if I can’t get the driver issue fixed. Maybe I’ll spell ATI in chicken bones in front of my computer and start chanting…

2)Linux & Building
scons, I’ll try that for sure, when I tried to do a build, I had no idea which one to go with. I’l focus on scons. As for the libraries, is there a list that I can find on which ones I need?

Should I change distro’s from Ubuntu to something else? I’m not trying to learn Linux so I can use a fancy graphic interface and have it do my everyday computing needs. I need… or really, would just like a something a little more “lean” and specific to graphic/web/video needs (and not studio ubuntu). And if I should direct these questions to another forum, please let me know.

Thanks much!

Well I can’t comment on all distros since I haven’t used anything outside of Gentoo for quite a while. But if you want something lean and stable then that might be closer to what you want. You build everything from scratch and you select what packages you want, so nothing is installed except what is absolutely needed. BUT, I need to stress that it is very different. It’s a “rolling disto”, not a “versioned distro”. And it takes a lot more time because each time you install something you have to give it time to compile. But it’s not all that hard because it’s all automated, there a tutorials to walk you through steps needed, and when you run into snags the forum is quite responsive. On the plus side though, you get a better understanding of how the system is put together because you build it yourself, and building things like Blender from scratch is much less of a headache. YMMV.

Libraries needed can vary depending on what options you build with, and they in turn my have some dependencies, but some libraries you might want to check off your list (and I’m just pulling this from Gentoo’s blender ebuild):

opengl includes for your GPU (might require installing an SDK on Ubuntu)

Names of the packages in Ubuntu may vary somewhat from what is in the list.

Check ->

Awesome info guys, really appreciate it! I’m checking out, I’m going to see if I can’t create a build from Scons. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As for the ATI driver issue, I think I might have it as good as it gets. Apparently the next release of Ubuntu has better support for ATI cards such as mine, but I installed the beta version at first and video was all crazy… so I didn’t even go there. Hopefully I can get a build to work good on my hardware config. At some point, I should try to actually invest in a dedicated linux machine that’s better than what I have (I’m sure I could build that for less than a couple hundred bucks now).