I have been thinking about why the old binary drivers don't work with new kernels (in a very "high" level of course ), is it because they are so badly written that it is impossible for newer kernels/xorgs to advance and at the same time maintain compatibility with the old drivers, or is it the open source developer policy not to take into account the "requirements" of the binary blobs to favour the open drivers?
I hope it is not the latter case, since although I respect the open source driver development, I wouldn't see anything bad in having more choice, if it was easy to maintain compatibility. So far I am ok getting to use at least newer kernel than the enterprise linux distributions, but for how long? Soon I may want to be able to enjoy the new programming advances, but before open drivers mature to the (power saving) level that satisfies me, I'm not going to risk frying my laptop.
This may not be the right thread to write this, but let's face it, catalyst 9.1 (and/or 9.3) is the last driver to fully work with a big number of ATI cards. And it's a fact we can't do anything about. Knowing this, if it was possible for newer kernel/xorg versions to maintain the compatibility with the driver, doing otherwise would harm many linux users, be it closed driver or not. One reason I still stick with Windows is that my hardware works with it and it has passed numerous updates, even the kernel (although to a lesser extent).
Since March 2009 I've seen many angry messages towards ATI for not continuing support to legacy cards. But the cards still have a working driver. All kernel/xorg developers, forgive my ignorance if the old drivers really are impossible to support. If I was a programmer, I didn't have to ask my ignorant questions.