Linux Mint 18, Ubuntu 16.04 AMD Radeon open source video problem, vainfo error

Getting poor video playback or video problems using Linux Mint 18 or Ubuntu 16.04 and the open source AMD Radeon driver?

You will probably notice your vainfo shows an error:

libva: VA-API version 0.32.0
libva: va_getDriverName() returns 0
libva: Trying to open /usr/lib/dri/
libva: va_openDriver() returns -1

install vdpau-va-driver
sudo apt install vdpau-va-driver

Now add LIBVA_DRIVER_NAME=vdpau to /etc/environment and reoot.

now all should be good and vainfo should show something like
libva info: VA-API version 0.39.0
libva info: va_getDriverName() returns 0
libva info: User requested driver 'vdpau'
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri/
libva info: Found init function __vaDriverInit_0_39
libva info: va_openDriver() returns 0
vainfo: VA-API version: 0.39 (libva 1.7.0)
vainfo: Driver version: Splitted-Desktop Systems VDPAU backend for VA-API - 0.7.4
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
VAProfileMPEG2Simple : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileMPEG2Main : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileMPEG4Simple : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileMPEG4AdvancedSimple : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileH264Baseline : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileH264Main : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileH264High : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileVC1Simple : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileVC1Main : VAEntrypointVLD
VAProfileVC1Advanced : VAEntrypointVLD

Creativerse on Linux using Wine

This has took me a little while to get working due to missing fonts etc and Steam and Creativerse not agreeing about them.

Already installed under Wine but text/fonts missing from buttons and other areas in Creativerse using Wine on Linux? No problem.

While there is no official Linux support for Creativerse as yet, it does work well under Wine. So here goes.

install wine-staging, Instructions for various distros here. You could use the Wine supplied by your distro but for better performance I am using wine-staging.

Make sure your windows version is set to Windows XP in the applications tab of winecfg


install steam using the official windows installer from the Steam website.

install corefonts
winetricks corefonts

Run Steam with the following commands
cd ".wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Steam"
wine Steam.exe -no-cef-sandbox -no-dwrite

change the paths in the first line to match where your Wine install of steam is.

install creativerse


For better performance go to the staging tab in winecfg and enable the first two options.


Creativerse occasionally bugs out during the initial loading screen. Just fire it up again and all good.
The windows version must be Windows XP for now or Steam wont run.
Don’t forget the corefonts as you won’t get any text on the buttons and messages etc in game.
The -no-cef-sandbox option prevents Steam crashing out due to a Chrome problem.
The -no-dwrite option is needed as without it you will get no text in Steam after installing corefonts.
As you might notice I am using a 64 bit Wine prefix. It works fine in a 32 bit prefix, some might suggest faster and more reliably. Just change the path in the Steam run commands to suit. I don’t really see much difference during testing so rather than messing about with prefixes etc, I stick with the defaults for my OS as long as it works and is playable.

Testing done with:
Linux Mint 18
AMD FX-6350
AMD Radeon HD 6670
16 GiB DDR-3 1600 RAM
Open Source drivers (out of the box Linux Mint provided)

Creativerse runs and looks great with visual settings at medium but my graphics card is ancient. You should be able to set everything to max on a newer R7 series card.

As usual, please use comments and I will try to answer any problems, also any useful hints ‘n tips you send in comments I will add/update this post with full credits.

Enjoy 🙂

Free UPS monitor and graceful shutdown software for Windows 10

If you are stuck for decent free UPS monitor and graceful shutdown software for Windows 10, or a bit put out by the lack of software or enormous Java apps provided by many UPS manufacturers, you can’t do much better than these two apps.

It does depend on your UPS as to whether these apps will work for you, but they are very small and work fine on my SYNDOME/Mustek Cypress semiconductor USB-Serial UPS running on Windows 10 64 bit.

Tiny download but nice status display and has shut down options. Very simple program with tiny memory footprint and minimal performance impact.




UPS Assistant
Another tiny download. Does not look as nice but has SMTP/HTTP and LAN network message notifications as well as shutdown options. All the usual information is there. An obvious choice if power event notifications are what your looking for.


Let me know in the comments if you found any other small free UPS monitoring software and I’ll add them to the list. Also let me know what other makes/models of UPS these programs work on for you.

Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial, AMD, Black or Blank Screen, Steam Will Not Launch

If your getting black screens on boot with your Ubuntu upgrade to 16.04 (Xenial) then probably ‘upgrade’ is the problem.

From Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 onwards, there is no FGLRX or proprietry driver support for AMD RADEON HD cards.

AMD are now focusing on the open source drivers. If your getting blank or black screen on boot, or other video problems, do a clean install. Do not try to install the proprietry drivers. Everything should be working fine without any messing about.

Steam wont launch? Damn this is still hanging around from 15.01!!

This is a Steam problem. Steam really needs to try keep up with the open source drivers. We simply remove the old libs from Steam so it is forced to use the newer libs.

cd $HOME/.steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/i386/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu
cd $HOME/.steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/amd64/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu

Steam will work now 🙂

NTFS disk corruption, dual boot, linux (ubuntu,mint etc) windows 8, windows 10. Shared disk NTFS.

After prolonged use by Linux  of a shared NTFS drive in dual boot, Windows will report a corrupt disk, file system.

There is actually nothing wrong. Linux leaves the shared NTFS drive dirty on purpose to avoid file system corruption by windows fastboot.  Over time of dual booting and not fixing then you might get some corruption.

If you have been using linux for a while then dual boot into windows 8 or 10, then do a disk check of your shared NTFS drive.  Disk check will find errors, fix them, usually without any data loss.

You could turn off fastboot in windows to stop this happening. You could also disk check in windows regularly to fix the dirty flags, without disabling fastboot. That is up to you.

Comment if you need more information.