@mirv: You completely missed my point. It wasn't at all about the usefulness and benefits of s3tc. I know it's highly useful and therefore used in plenty of games.
My point is this: There's other stuff distros don't ship by default. But a big deal isn't being made of that, because there are established solutions - third-party repos providing what the distro itself can't. S3TC isn't any different: A solution exists, the libtxc_dxtn library, and users can get it from the same third-party repos they get the other stuff from. But somehow s3tc is treated differently from that other stuff, even though the solution is the same. That's what I don't get.
I'm only arguing the existence of a library and the means people have to get that library. Nothing more. I haven't said one word about what I think about the patent system, that's a different discussion. If we had that discussion, I'd be so far away from a "retarded conformist" you couldn't even imagine it.
I'm sure floating point is just as important (and with deferred renderers, it will be), and if s3tc was tomorrow free of legals issues, then the focus would switch to floating point textures.
So while it's not a hassle for some to just download the lib, it is a hassle for the distros, and for game developers who can't be entirely sure that s3tc is supported on a system with open source drivers.
That's my take on it all anyway.
In a distro without mp3 support, try playing an mp3. It will probably bring up a message in the player app that the format isn't supported, and link you to a website with some help to explain what's happening. It may even offer a button to install the missing library for you.
Compare that to the st3c library missing - people start up the game, and it segfaults, probably giving some random error message that doesn't really inform you of what caused the problem. What's worse, it will probably vary from game to game, so there is no set error message people can google against. Leaving them with no idea of what the problem is.
Now, they can probably get onto a message board, ask the question, and someone will probably tell them to try installing s3tc. But that's way more effort than your average user is going to go to. They'll just say that the game doesn't work on linux, and leave it at that.
If a library is missing, the user expects to be TOLD its missing, and given either a link to a website or a handly install button. Spitting out various failure messages [which vary by app] is a good way to chase off users very quickly. Throw in the fact that some distros ship with the st3c library and others don't...you get the idea.
Sorry for high jacking your off topic discussion, but is anybody working on MSAA support in r600g so it can finally advertise OpenGL 3.0?