HOWTO: Google Earth freezes at splash screen

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How to get Google Earth to run under XGL if your PC uses an ATI GPU


If Google Earth just hangs at the splash screen and your PC has an ATI graphics card then try the following fix, which makes Google Earth use an older version of an ATI library (the older library is put in the Google Earth directory and does not affect the latest version of the library, which is in a different directory).

This works on an Acer 8215WLMi laptop running SL x86-64 3.4 Loop 2b with XGL active and Google Earth 4.0.2723 as installed to the HDD from the LiveDVD.

Installing the old library

Download the file from the ATI Web site. I downloaded it to my Desktop (/home/fitzcarraldo/Desktop). Then type the following commands into a Terminal window (replacing "/home/fitzcarraldo/Desktop" with the directory where you stored the downloaded file):

$ sudo mkdir /tmp/ati_extract

$ sudo sh /home/fitzcarraldo/Desktop/ --extract /tmp/ati_extract
$ sudo cp /tmp/ati_extract/arch/x86/usr/X11R6/lib/ /opt/googleearth/

How to launch Google Earth

There are two alternative ways of launching Google Earth: from the command line or via the GUI. To launch Google Earth from the command line, type the following into a Terminal window:

$ DISPLAY=:0 googleearth

To launch Google Earth via the GUI, you need to modify slightly the Desktop Configuration File (the shortcut icon on the Desktop) that was installed automatically when you installed SL to the HDD. Edit the command in the Application tab of the Desktop Config File to say DISPLAY=:0 googleearth %f instead of just “googleearth %f”.

Note: Apparently some people have to use e.g. “DISPLAY=:93” instead “DISPLAY=:0”.

[This page created by Fitzcarraldo on 05.08.07]