From the interview with Bridgeman, I did some reading between the lines...
We are hoping that the open source driver settles around the "80% of the value with 10% of the code" sweet spot.
Which means...we still want you to pay 100% of the price!
However, we believe that the open source community will be able to develop open source solutions to satisfy the majority of user's needs.
Which means.."warmer, warmer, no...colder, whopps really cold." At the same time, we the buying public wait, wait, and wait.
We are concentrating on supplying information, answering questions, and providing sample code as a way of saying "we think this is a good approach".
Which means...My onboard RS690 chipset still misreports itself as a x1200 instead as an x1250 with also features much less than what we'd find on the Windows drivers.
The Catalyst Linux driver (fglrx) will focus on released and stable OS distributions, offering ISV-certified support for workstation users and providing a feature and performance upgrade for consumer users.
Which means...that I have neither the patience nor the ability to wait on ATI as I build systems for my customers. ATI/AMD cannot exepect me to pay full price for a card with less than 100% of the features listed. In 2008, I have no choice but to switch to another graphics vendor.
Question: What's the timeline for making shader core information available to the open source community? ATI response: We expect to start providing information in the first quarter of 2008.