So I picked up one of the sapphire x1950PRO cards to fiddle with, and seeing that Fedora core 6 had the goodies for whiz-bang effects, installed it fresh. Installed the ATI Drivers (8.32.5) (now I remember why I prefer NV - while better, the ATI install does not seem quite as easy as the NV, but could be just me.)
No go on using desktop effects. Found this group, and I think afte poking around I understand why - the proprietary ATI driver does not support some needed functions. OK, fine, is there any way I can play with the whiz-bang features of say compiz on fedora using this card, or do I have to wait until ATI supports the needed functions, or an open-source driver supports the 1950?