I'd use fglrx if it would just work. But i've tried literally everything, but no go on Ubuntu or Fedora, (HD4870). I can get the driver to compile and load into memory, but if i try to start X it freezes.
It does work however on my laptop (mobile 9600), which is some 5 years old.
Everything is relative, but one thing is for sure, ATi does not know how to write drivers, may it be windows or linux, they just suck period.
Holy crap. Even if Phoronix is "ATI biased", most of the people on the forums do nothing but bitch about the drivers. The articles on the site itself are very "fair" I would say, when it comes to reviews. Fact is, people only bitch when they can't work out the driver, and boy to they bitch (loudly too). If there is any sort of "fanboyism" going on it's from nvidia users, constantly taking shots at fglrx and denying that the binary has issues.
The driver works, has great 3D performance, and is rather stable. I use it on all my machines and rarelly have a problem. It lacks certain features, and some things could be better implemented, but the drivers far from suck. I guess I'm either lucky or am a secret ATI agent spreading false success stories on fglrx. I have helped several people in getting fglrx working, and once they do their biggest complaint is about the flickering videos/games with Compiz. They must be stinking liars then.
Yes, call me a driver-bitcher and fglrx-hater, I'm in. NOT AMD-hater, but fglrx-hater definitely. The whole reason I discovered and eventually joined Phoronix was because I couldn't get the bloody driver to work well (the only positive aspect of my affair with this binary ATI linux driver). And boy have I had many hours of troubles because of fglrx - and it still is not stable ! Resume from suspend, here we go ! NO, room temperature must be exactly 20,3 degress Celcius for that to work. Lower the GPU powerstate when on battery, you say ? BOOOOM. I could go on. It's a piece of fantastic crap that works only if your computer is blessed and has holy water running through the cooling solution AND (weekday % 2 == 0). I have a few colleagues at work that have had the pleasure of using Linux+fglrx, and they all had various problems and hated it.
In my view, stability has been a second class citizen with fglrx ever since I first started using it (v8.24.8), always going for useless feature X or fix Y instead of just making it robust and perform decently in the most important areas and getting the basics right FIRST.
The nvidia binary drivers also have problems - and even worse - nvidia does not offer hardware documentation like AMD does (a great move by AMD which I applaud). But I've owned a few nvidia-cards - and despite some smaller issues here and there, they've always worked quite well with the nvidia blob du jour. And despite how much fun it is to fix stuff (I've been using Linux since 2000), troubleshooting graphics card driver problems is something I'm quite tired of. With fglrx, the issues have been more serious and triggered hours of head scratching and trying-this-and-that just to get a stable solution going. Not to mention "that time of the month" where you hope the next Catalyst-release will solve some important problem, only to be seriously disappointed almost every time. There are some bright spots in the history of fglrx-releases, but they are few and far between.
Fortunately xf86-video-radeon finally proved to be a very good fglrx-ass-kicker for me, and my laptop has *never* been more stable. Suspend/resume always works (about 25% chance of failure with Catalyst 8.12). Video is just great and without glitches/artifacts (which are there with Catalyst 8.12). 2D is great and completely usable. 3D performance might be somewhat less than with fglrx, but I don't game on my work-laptop, so I don't care. I do however care deeply about basic functionality, stability and hardware-drivers not getting in my face.
Yfrwlf you obviously don't know anything about IP laws, patents, licensing.
I know that companies usually do what they want to do. A company can make any and all code developed by their employees be controlled by them, i.e. they can place whatever licenses they want on the code. So, yeah, if AMD, Nvidia, or any other company really wanted to support open source, they could. Are there possibly issues "converting" their closed driver into an open one? Maybe, but, whatever, I just think they should back open source development as it's better, that's all. ^^
Yes, the code a company develops by itself without any outside contribution of any kind is theirs. But as soon as they use techniques they licence from 3rd parties, they don't own it in a way that they can do what they want. They have to follow the rules laid down in contracts - which means the licensor dictates what the licensee can do with the code. And open sourcing it is usually strictly prohibited.
AMD, NVIDIA and others use A LOT 3rd party technology in their products, therefore they CAN NOT open the source of their drivers even if they want to. Add to that the mess forced upon them by DRM. You want to play Bluray? Well, you have to make sure nobody is able to use the information you just put in the public to crack the videostream.
That said, you obviously never read some of bridgeman's explanations of this topic nor do you have ever read or thought about IP law, patents and licensing.