Installing and configuring ATI graphics card drivers on Ubuntu Hardy

For the "Data Mining and Data Warehousing" course at the university, we had to implement a spectral clustering algorithm (I've already written another post related to it). What we had to do is basically to integrate this algorithm as a module for the XVDM system, a tool for performing high-dimensional visual data mining analysis, developed at the department of Computer Science at the Free University of Bolzano (main developers Andrej Taliun and Arturas Mazeika). The system is mainly written for Linux, although there exists an unofficial port for Mac OSX. However already from the beginning I experienced some problems with the XVDM system, which apparently were related to the graphics drivers on my Ubuntu Hardy system. So while performing some clustering experiments, my whole system crashed 3 times and so I finally decided to fix these annoying problems. And you know, tweaking these things is not really funny, since it happened already to me that I changed some configurations and afterward a restart of Linux I was just seeing a black screen instead of the desktop. So be really careful in changing drivers and display settings --> backup your xorg.conf (/etc/X11/)!!!
I my case - I have a HP Compaq nx8220 business notebook - I had to update the drivers for my ATI Mobility Radeon graphics card. I'm writing this post because I found a very good wiki that describes how to install and configure the ATI drivers on your system:

The only problem you'll experience is with your Compiz manager (I'm a fan of Compiz :) ) and OpenGL applications. In that case you will notice some flickering. The immediate solution I found is to switch off all visual effects. Comments for an alternative solution are very welcome :)



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