Without a functioning graphics driver, you will have none of these things, unless you run them from a terminal, and with the VESA driver, your experience will be close to unusable.
You are right that nouveau has made great progress, but it still has ways to go, and none of this progress is due to Nvidia's help. Nouveau was started to provide a free alternative, and has momentum because large Linux players do not want to depend on a binary-only driver.
Nvidia is not God, but a complete operating system REQUIRES a functioning graphics driver stack which uses the hardware to accelerate all commonly used operations.
All I am saying is that it is bad for an operating system if one company has the sole know-how to provide such a driver and all of Linux desktop depends on their benevolence.
If Nvidia withdrew completely, it likely would not kill Linux on Nvidia hardware (due to Nouveau), but it would be a huge blow, and you know it. If AMD withdrew, it would be a blow, but a much smaller one, because the free drivers are quite functional. If Intel withdrew, it wouldn't matter much, because all the drivers are open anyway.
Evergreen uses Kernel Modesetting, native resolutions and powersaving, all based on specs provided by AMD (I'm not sure if all Evergreen specs have been released to the open yet).Wh-... what?! My desktop experience with Evergreen is good enough with Fedora 14...
VESA driver provides no such thing. And Nvidia has deprecated the nv driver.
For instance I've recently switched over to an ATI 5870 but I still require a closed driver at the moment. While I was using an nVidia card I was also arguing that closed drivers are sometimes required but I was simply branded an nVidia fanboi by some. Now that I run an ATI card I guess those same people will brand me an ATI fanboi. The simple truth is I need the most 3D performance out of my hardware I can get and some other do as well.
Look, I agree with you, I bought my HD4xxx at the time when it was just becoming usable for 2d with experimental drivers. Fancy schmancy wobbles and games are not all there is to a desktop experience. Hell, I don't even use compositing on my work computer, and most of my work is done from terminal tabs.
But I think that it's fair to expect your expensive, complex, 40 nm high-tech hardware with millions of transistors to do something else than act as an unaccelerated framebuffer.
And I insist that such a thing should be possible without downloading binary drivers. I don't care if the blobs continue to exist, or if people use them. Just like I don't care if people use Opera to surf the web, or Eudora to check their email. They are based on open standards, and I can communicate with these people by using Free alternatives, and the world is OK. I'm not forcing them to do it my way (I might give a friendly tip, but zealotry does not work) and they are not forcing me to do it their way.
But if a company has the power to one day say "OK, we're leaving this market segment, no more drivers for you, use VESA from now on", then this is a very different situation.
1. Tools to enable daily life.
I considder point 1 very important.
I considder point 2 a nice extra, but not important at al. Recreation in my book should be done outside of a n*n*n meter room. Only when I do not have the option to go outside or visit other people due to the wheather and I realy have nothing else to do it is nice. But then again a full blown console + PCI-E Tuner is cheaper than the latest graphics card and even games are cheaper (not to mention non-FPS games till you drop) if you go for a PSP with a Composit cable to hook up to your TV/tuner.
Well I won't be saying that OpenGL should be scrapped and that high end cards shouldn't be fully functional and that effort to make these cards work is in vain.But I think that it's fair to expect your expensive, complex, 40 nm high-tech hardware with millions of transistors to do something else than act as an unaccelerated framebuffer.
I don't upgrade my computer that much so I expect the system that I buy to be able to keep up for 6 years in a row (unless it breaks). Therefore I naturaly buy faster hardware then I need at the moment I decide to upgrade. I don't want to worry about performance. I want to be able to run e17 just as much as the latest KDE. Maybe that's why I don't care so much that my card is currently just an advanced framebuffer without the blob.