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Installed a fresh Debian Wheezy to enjoy Gnome 3 but it starts in fallback mode. I suppose that's because the loaded drivers do not support 3D acceleration.

Installed packages I know are relevant:

  • xserver-xorg-video-ati
  • libgl1-mesa-dri

The Gnome 3 was working fine with Ubuntu 12.04, and I belive it was using the FOSS drivers.

Interestingly there is no /etc/X11/xorg.conf and when I try to generate it with Xorg -configure I get:

X.Org X Server 1.12.1
Release Date: 2012-04-13
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0
Build Operating System: Linux 3.2.0-2-amd64 x86_64 Debian
Current Operating System: Linux blackwhisper 3.2.0-2-amd64 #1 SMP Mon Apr 30 05:20:23 UTC 2012 x86_64
Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-3.2.0-2-amd64 root=UUID=e6f57a36-19aa-4dfc-9b61-32d5e08abcc6 ro quiet
Build Date: 07 May 2012  12:15:23AM
xorg-server 2:1.12.1-2 (Cyril Brulebois <kibi@debian.org>) 
Current version of pixman: 0.24.4
    Before reporting problems, check http://wiki.x.org
    to make sure that you have the latest version.
Markers: (--) probed, (**) from config file, (==) default setting,
    (++) from command line, (!!) notice, (II) informational,
    (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
(==) Log file: "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", Time: Sat May 19 20:15:31 2012
List of video drivers:
(++) Using config file: "/root/xorg.conf.new"
(==) Using system config directory "/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d"
(II) [KMS] No DRICreatePCIBusID symbol, no kernel modesetting.
Number of created screens does not match number of detected devices.
  Configuration failed.
Server terminated with error (2). Closing log file.


I found now at the message boot:

[    8.121829] [drm] Loading RS780 Microcode
[    8.156063] r600_cp: Failed to load firmware "radeon/RS780_pfp.bin"
[    8.156092] [drm:r600_startup] *ERROR* Failed to load firmware!
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You have to install the firmware-linux-nonfree packag which containts the necessary firmware files – Ulrich Dangel May 19 '12 at 20:12
@UlrichDangel It worked. Thanks. If you want rewrite the comment as an answer I'll accept it. – logic.town May 19 '12 at 21:22
Just a tip: There should be no need for xorg.conf nowadays. Don't even try -configure, focus on reading the X log. – njsg Jan 8 '13 at 23:04
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The firmware for your graphics card is missing. You have to explicitly install firmware-linux-nonfree from the non-free repository.

  1. Add the non-free repository to /etc/apt/sources.list (or /etc/apt/sources.list.d/)

  2. Run apt-get update as root

  3. Install firmware-linux-nonfree with apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree

  4. You probably have to reboot after this step or reload your device driver.

Just some additional background information: most current devices require some kind of firmware blob to run. Debian decided to move these kind of blobs into a non-free package (you can't alter them, you don't know what they are doing and sometimes they are not even distributable).

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