Ever since I upgraded to my desktop to Debian Linux I have not been able to run Google Earth. It would freeze on the splash screen and never open the main interface. I used Google Earth on Debian before, so I knew it was just a problem with my machine. As it turns out, it was the new ATI fglrx drivers that were preventing it from running properly.
Apparently, all versions of ATI’s proprietary Linux (fglrx) drivers version 2.28 and newer will not work for Google Earth (at least on some systems). So here is how to get Google Earth working again:
Thanks to Wilniuk from the Google Earth forums for solving this problem.
If for some reason this doesn’t work, I have a file on my system in the /usr/lib/ directory called FGL.renamed.libGL.so.1.2. When I copied that file to the Google Earth directory and renamed it to libGL.so.1, Google Earth ran in OpenGL software mode (which was slow but usable).
Hope this helps. Special thanks to Josh from www.ground-impact.com for hosting the file.