If you wanna play 3d games in Linux (especially under Wine), stay away from ATI, period.
That's not entirely correct. I have no trouble playing Savage 2 and HoN with ATI. I can't comment on gaming with wine though as I don't support windows.
The proprietary drivers are barely passable(hope that you enjoy slow compiz/beryl effects and poor video playback--tearing, broken installation packages, etc.) and the open source drivers probably won't be worth bothering with for at the very least a year, probably longer.
The fact that AMD support OSS is entirely useless unless you're an OSS zealot. nVidia just doesn't support OSS simply because they don't need to do so, while AMD could potentially benefit from a higher quality OSS driver.
Some games/apps even give the ATI drivers/cards fits in Windows as well...
I regret getting a notebook with an ATI GPU. Should've experimented with a desktop and "cheap"/easily replaceable GPU.
Video playback works just fine for me with either openGL output, or with Xv output with the new Direct2D accel turned on.
Wine also works just fine for me once the OffscreenRenderingMode registry key is set to "backbuffer".
I have yet to run into a significant problem with the installer in the last 2 years I've used it.
The sheer stupidity of the above comment regarding the OSS drivers doesn't even warrant a reply.
As to installation: lulz. Seems like at least, every other install has some sort of problems under linux. And for added fun mix in some regressions every 2-3m and/or plain broken things.
OTOH the Windows(Vista 32b) 10.5 and install was the MOST pleasant experience that I've had with Catalyst to date. The install recovered and restarted the drivers all by itself whereas it used to phail hard at the recover step. Haven't bothered benchmarking anything yet, and this means nothing to linux as the linux Catalyst driver uses different installation methods and video playback in windows was always OK although there were/are some coloration oddities whihc I am still not sure if it's because of the LCD panel or the driver...
OSS: ah, another zealot I see. Nothing stupid about it. It's purely a political play on AMD's part as evidenced in the quote. Further AMD is now VERY quick to drop support for older GPUs while nVidia supports them pretty far back. Granted they may not have all the features of newer cards for obvious reason, but OTOH older AMD GPUs are now dumped to the OSS support or ancient proprietary drivers which likely will not function on more recent linux distros after they're a year or so old.