Okay, let's try this one more time.
nvidia (the blob from nVidia) is superior in terms of features and stability. It still crashes all the time, is buggy, doesn't support esoteric X features correctly, etc.
XvBA is dead in the water, as far as desktop support is concerned. AMD crafted it for enterprise clients, not desktop clients. You all will have to wait until somebody introduces VDPAU for Radeons in the open-source driver, which brings me to...
...Contribution. The open-source driver is completely fueled by contributions. We have the documentation, we have the expertise. We only lack manpower. If you want drivers so damn bad, why not contribute? I learned how to write graphics drivers out of pure hatred for fglrx; if I can do it, surely you all can too.
Finally, fglrx is for FireGLs first, Radeons second. It's an enterprise driver, for enterprise Linux. The big targets here are SUSE, RHEL, and Ubuntu LTS; not Gentoo, Arch, or name-your-distro-here.
tl;dr: Read the post and stop relying on tl;dr.
Video playback via mplayer froze the machine again requiring alt+prtscr boot. (RSEINUB)
Seems to happen most often after awaking from sleep, Ubuntu 9.04 64b, compiz/beryl disabled(always freezes from sleep if it's on, and Im not even going to bother testing it w/9.6... oh for at least lush green quality drivers instead of the bloody mess that we have...)
wine is still hosed by the wonderful drivers as well... I really wish that AMD would get their ---- together instead of moaning about opensource as I'd MUCH rather just have decent quality drivers and don't give a rats --- about their being open or not. Its much more like AMD is hoping/expecting OSS to save their bacon rather than actually doing the heavy lifting themselves.
Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 4GB DDR2-800, 320GB 7200RPM WDC WD3200BEKT-22F3T0, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4850 512MB GDDR3, 8x Super multi DVD+/-RW, 1680x1050 (17"), 9 cell battery
Ubuntu 8.10 x86-64 (current updates) catalyst 9.3
Windows Vista Home Premium 32b SP1 (current update) still on shipped catalyst(8.12 I think, MSI packed -- lazy)
It's true that not everyone can contribute to the driver (hell, I'm an experienced programmer and still can't say I could help with the FOSS drivers), but it's also true that AMD never said their cards would work wonders on linux.
Remember, people; AMD never made you buy their product.
Not happy? Help with FOSS.
Can't? Pay someone who can.
Can't pay? Wait.
Can't wait? Your bad, you should've bought a well supported card on linux.