When I first tried installing linux one of my biggest problems was video card driver support problems. I have an ATI card and at the time had dual monitors. The open source drivers for my chipset didn't work as I would like with my setup. However, trying to get the binary drivers set up properly gave me problems as well. This was one of the big things that made me leave linux at that time. When Fedora 7 came out and I tried it again, I only had one ( much larger ) monitor to worry about so I was okay with the open source drivers that were set by default. Even though it bugs me that I use my CPU for my eye candy effects and the Graphics card just sits there. That is why this article on cnet news caught my eye. ...
So it looks like AMD/ATI wants to accelerate efforts in the open source community. The question on everyone's mind is what does this mean? Will the drivers be open source? Will they open up the specifications so that decent open source drivers can be written?
At this point nobody knows for sure. The best place to keep an eye would be phoronix.com that is the hub of ATI graphics card drivers for linux. All the articles I've looked at have pointed to the phoronix.com article on the acceleration of efforts in the open source community.
If ATI does open source the drivers this could be a big boon to Linux on the desktop. As more applications are able to tap into the full potential of graphics cards on the platform, higher end stuff will be made. Hopefully this will lead to one of the big downfalls of the linux desktop, games. If games can count on the ability to tap into the graphics card, more will be ported and written natively to the platform.