Listen, people. (Or read.)
There were numerous polls on phoronix where you could cast a vote "what is most important to you in GPU driver development".
A lot of people wanted 3d stuff first.
(I always voted for power management by the way.)
Now let's imagine AMD-ATI had started with power management first. 1000s of people would be crying about the lack of 3d accel and whatsnot.
Power management is among the most complicated parts. So it takes some time until it runs nicely everywhere on all the many chips. Look for the explanations agd5f gave somewhere here in the forums.
You all are welcome to take a manpage, a book and some articles from the net "how to write Linux Kernel drivers or X.org or mesa drivers" and hack away.
What? You can't? No time? You can't be bothered? Why do you then complain? The specifications are there (ok, let out that pesky UVD part) so "the community" can now hack a driver.
And here you already have a good base to build upon, not even starting from scratch.
You're also free to donate to pay more developers. There are not many enterprises actually hiring devs for freedom driver development like AMD does.
There are things called "software patents". "intellectual property" and other things that might range from silly to more serious. The problem is, the US and some other countries are very strict about this stuff.
So AMD has to go through a long minefield when releasing specs and writing code.
Can you remember Carmack's hacks because of some patents (was it Creative's EAX or something?)? Everybody who wants to release code, specs or anything has to carefully make sure not to hit the mines. Especially if you once licensed 3rd party stuff in any form.
Or if it touches digital restriction management like HDCP, BluRay decode, DVDCSS and stuff. (content mafia will complain!)
AMD is going through a minefield. Nvidia keeps out of that buy sticking to their binary blob only. You can basically put all sorts of strange stuff into a binary blob and most people won't notice or be able to name the problem or violation of anything (privacy, I.P. and so on).
Intel, well, I heard about some obfuscations in driver and they probably have a "slightly larger" juristic department for checking stuff before a release.
Okay. Go on complaining and threatenting to buy non-AMD stuff.
I wish you a happy time with your intel graphics.
BUT: Don't come crying here!!
a) if it doesn't provide you enough GPU power when you need it
b) if you're bankrupt after buying their stuff
c) if you are having so much fun with you Imagination Tech, PowerVR Poulsbo/... GPU that you're bursting into fucking tears because NOTHING works.
In case you didn't know: Intel buys a lot of stuff. Also from these folks. And sells it as "intel" graphics.
Later people wonder why nothing would work.
d) if one day only intel would be there as sole manufacturer of x86 and GPUs, wow, people, trust me, that would be the end of computer world. My experience from the very late 80s early 90s tell me that this would be really dark then. Only P4 style heatplates, no innovations and all that would be sold for 1000s of Dollars or Euros per piece. No thanks, I don't want to see intel in a monopoly position ever again.
e) planning to set up a nice webpage with news about movie releases on DVD for example? Calling it like www.dvd-inside.something? Awww. Wait a few days and receive the cease and desist paper from intel's lawyers. Because you used the simple word "inside". Lawl! That actually happened. So yeah, go trust a company that sues harmless people for using a simple English word.
Planning on anything else, yeah?
Okay, go ahead.
I personally have seen a lot of GPUs and I am so sure I do not want them.
Nvidia might be okay depending on the driver release of their binary blob. Sometimes it was good sometime it was definitely not.
Oh, shit, my nvidia GPUs are already legacy and no longer supported. What a drag.
Nouveau? Respect to these people but I know that project from the time it started. I had real hopes for my (now old) cards but to this time they still won't really work much. I don't blame these folks since reverse engineering is among the nastiest and most nerve consuming things to do. Oh, nvidia won't sue them. Well, if you can call that support...
And nvidia keeps throwing new hardware on the marked (also their stuff that is directed to the embedded scene) faster than anybody can catch up with rev. engineering.
Yet my NV11, NV20 from around 2002 still don't really work as good as my far more recent Radeon chips do.
I've had or seen enough of SiS, VIA and other chips. You will 200% sure not be happy with that unless you like to be with VESA drivers or drivers close to VESA capabilities. I doubt there is an alternative among them.
Of course the free AMD drivers are not perfect in every case but for me it's the best solution I have seen yet. And it is actually backed by the enterprise.
Can you be sure that in a laptop it's coming from the GPU? There are other places to waste power, too!
Can you be sure you configured it correctly? Can you be sure you have a plain ATI chip and not something modified by the laptop vendor?
If you can rule out all others and you are actually sure it is the GPU throwing away the power then yes, then you can complain and please file a bug report. If you don't file a bug report the devs are not able to see your problem and can't do anything about it. It probably needs more than "aww, noes, my graphic chips doesn't work". They will likely need far more detailed info to find out where the bug is located. If it is a bug in the driver or hardware.
But in laptops I'm not sure it is easy to determine which component(s) are wasting power. E.g. once there was sold a laptop with a Transmeta chip, the CPU taking up maybe a single watt. Still that whole thing would not keep battery powered longer than 2h.
So keep these points in mind when you complain. Of course if something doesn't work as intended it's okay to be angry or feeling the need to complain. But please double check before you're being harsh to a company which actually moved towards the community and brought a lot of gifts with them, okay?
And that is not just because I'm a stupid fanboy.