this kind of support is also planned in windows platform, due to there is not official support for hd 4000 series in windows 8
Then no much reason to worry about this step then.
You don't needed to be sad. Even with my 6850HD, (I bought almost a year ago) you cannot use Gnome3 Shell. FGLRX bugs kills the shell and force me logging out at the middle of coding, fu*king my concentration...
So, fglrx "support" is not an actually "support". They better drop whole catalyst for linux.
Instead, they could donate some $ to open source ati GPU driver coders... I call this a real linux support...
Regardless of the typical phoronix newsmongering paparazzi going on, the responses here just prove people will complain whatever happens. Before AMD open sourced their specs, it was evil AMD bluh bluh bluh. Then when it finally happened, it turned out most of it was talking. Very few people actually delved into the specs and did some work, otherwise the drivers wouldn't need so much time to mature. Then AMD drops blob support, which is the expected things to do after you open source your specs, and what happens? people complain.
This shows something I've been suspecting for quite a while (though phoronix really tries hard to bring out that side in people) -- there are idiots in every community, and usually roughly the same percentage (with the exception of ievil users, the number of idiots there is more like 90%).
Or, you know, you could get Mesa from a distro that doesn't disable float textures. Also, there's no need to recompile for S3TC...It's the same story with the Unigine Engine on open-source, at least not without greatly sacrificing the visual richness of the engines and building Mesa support with patent-encumbered features (S3TC, floating-point textures, etc).
Wait, I know what's happening:
Valve is about to release Steam for Linux, so users will need full 3d support. How can AMD make money out of this "historical" situation? SIMPLE: kill the driver for 70% users out there and force them to buy a new GPU because the OSS driver won't be able to run Valve's games!