It’s been a long time since I used a machine with an ATI card, and this latest one has been a very pleasant surprise.
It was my hope — and probably the hope of a lot of people — that when ATI moved toward open-source drivers, performance would explode. Granted, a Radeon Mobility FireGL 9000 is rather far removed from cutting edge, what with only 32Mb to work with and nothing in the way of upper-end video power. “Explode” might be more like “pop.”
It’s the little things you have to appreciate though. The same thrill I got when I was able to one-click install the proprietary driver for a knuckle-busting Radeon XPress 200M way back when Hardy came out … I get now when I boot the live CD for 9.04 and it goes straight to accelerated graphics mode.
It’s that driver — the “radeon” one, the one Ubuntu picks by default and Arch seems more than happy to run. In the old days that was the one I had to fall back to, if the proprietary one didn’t do its job. Performance was baseline.
But now, it’s fantastic.
I am relatively new to this entire Linux thing — my three or four years with Ubuntu et al. is a mere speck against the grand scheme of things. But I find it reassuring that, this time at least, the premise of releasing code seems to have worked. In my favor, at least.