Voting with my dollars and my feet

I recently purchased a new video card for my computer. I bought a new card not because the other card was broken (in fact, the card was working just fine when I pulled it out) and not because it "was old". Nope, I bought a new card because the driver support for Linux was much better than the old card. The old card was an ATI 9600XT, which was a very good, inexpensive card back when I built Lister (my current machine). It had 128MB of onboard RAM, and was manufactured by ATI themselves (which seemed like a plus at the time, because NVidia only manufactures the chipsets for their cards, not the cards themselves). The card has worked admirably over the years despite some of the heartaches we've had together (all of them driver related. Installing the ATI drivers for Linux was never a picnic until I got the latest Ubuntu distribution).

So, what changed?

I recently upgraded my machine to Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). With Ubuntu comes the built-in ability to run Compiz (there's some awesome videoson Youtube to show some of the neat effects). Unfortunately the drivers that ship for the ATI card don't include the composite extension, which is critical for running Compiz. The open-source drivers support it, but the performance is less-than-stellar. So, I did what any self-respecting geek would do: put the card up on eBay and got a Gigabyte 7600GS from NewEgg. Even better, I think it works better with my motherboard, which is an NVidia chipset board.

Problem solved.

Sorry, ATI, but I'm not going to keep apologizing to myself for getting a card that has lackluster Linux support. At least the NVidia drivers work, and work well. Now if they'd only open-source them (but that's a rant for a different day).


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