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I was using last month's drivers, but upgraded yesterday to the new ones. Didn't try Google Earth though (no time).
I had been using the DRI drivers, but somehow I wasn't able to get direct rendering running (I had it running some months ago). Anyhow -- with the DRI drivers I often experienced lockups after some time, sometimes hours, when using 3D apps. No problems so far with fglrx.
I will try Google Earth tomorrow with the new drivers. What is this API entrypoint issue? Don't spare technical details, I am quite fluent in OpenGL and stuff.
Attempting to use 3D applications on Radeon 9000/9100/9200/9250 and FireGL 8x00 products fails to start and reports back something similar to ?[fglrx] API ERROR: could not register entrypoint for SelectTextureSGIS?. Further details can be found in topic number 737-22639
Hm, I don't get the entrypoint error messages, but: fgl_glxgears shows a solid box, too, just like in the bug report. so pbuffer does not seem to work. Since it is an extension, maybe the two problems are related. Actually, glxinfo doesn't show that extension at all.
So, I played a bit around with googleearth and the fglrx drivers. It seems to be the API entrypoint problem. When I installed the libGL.so of the fglrx 8.14.x driver, everything started working again. Even googleearth looks fine now. I hope this will get fixed in the next release of the driver!
Update: So as I said with the 8.14.x libGL, googleearth works. My first problem remains, but now I know when it happens. Whenever some other window, or one of googleearth's popups and bubbles intersects the OpenGL widget of googleearth, the textures will flicker, and sometimes completely disappear. If no window overlaps, everything is fine. I guess this is a bug in the driver? Haven't tried if that also happens with other OpenGL applications.