Dane (see comments) pointed out that ATI has in fact released the 11.10 version of their drivers, I went ahead and gave them a try and using them broke most things for me.
Once I booted back in to Gnome…I had some of the Gnome3 look and feel…but everything else (menus, icons, etc) were clearly from Gnome2. I reinstalled version 11.9 and everything was back to normal. This update might work for some other setups…but for now I’ll just stick with the version that is working 95% of the time.
I was finally able to get a working desktop using Ubuntu 11.10, Gnome Shell, Gnome 3.2 along with my Radeon HD 2400 XT video card. The adventure started a few weeks ago when I tried to setup my existing Ubuntu 11.04 desktop using some PPA repositories I found online.
I was able to successfully upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10 beta, and since the 11.10 final release was right around the corner I figured it was safe to go ahead and give it a try. The upgrade went well, but I spent the next day fighting to try and get gnome-shell to play nicely with my Radeon card using the existing ATI drivers.
I ended up starting from scratch a few days later, by backing up some important files in my home directory and doing a clean install of 11.10 once the final version was released.
After doing an update and installing some other packages such as ubuntu-restricted-extras, vlc, pidgin, etc installing gnome-shell was painless:
# apt-get install gnome-shell
After rebooting, I logged in to find some of the same problems as before with this desktop install (screen tearing, blurry icons, multicolored menus, etc). I found some posts around the net that alluded to the fact that I might be able to solve some of my problems if I used the latest drivers (version 11.9) off the ATI website.
On the other hand, I found other posts by people claiming that even using the latest drivers had not completely solved all their problems and that ATI would be releasing version 11.10 sometime within the next 2 to 3 weeks, and that this new version would be specifically tested against Gnome 3.x (and fix the remaining bugs).
Anyway, I decided that I had nothing to lose at this point and decided to grab the latest version from the web:
# mkdir ati-11.9; cd ati-11.9
# wget http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/ati-driver-installer-11-9-x86.x86_64.run
# sh ati-driver-installer-11-9-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Ubuntu/oneiric
# dpkg -i fglrx*.deb
# aticonfig --initial -f
After rebooting my machine again, I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything was looking good, no more problems with screen tearing and all my icons and menus were seemingly in order.
The only thing I needed to do now was to setup my multiple monitors correctly, since at that point I was staring at two cloned spaces instead of one large desktop spread across both my two 24″ monitors.
First I launched the Catalyst control panel:
# gksu amdcccle
Under the ‘Display Manager’ page I had to select ‘Multi-display desktop with display’
***FOR EACH OF MY TWO MONITORS****
After a reboot I went into the Gnome ‘System Settings’ and choose ‘Displays’….I was finally able to uncheck ‘Mirror displays’ and hit ‘Apply’ without error.
The final two steps required for me to getting everything working %100 correctly was to install the gnome-tweak-tool:
# apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
and disable the ‘Have file manager handle the desktop’ option in the ‘Desktop’ section (that did away with the extra menu I was seeing).
The final step in the process involved installing a new theme…I really liked the Elementary them found here. So that is the one I choose….now everything is working as it should be!