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I agree wholeheartedly about ditching ATI. I tried installing Gentoo on my laptop (Radeon Mobility 9000) and let me just say that getting opengl to run was a pain to say the least! Even after I got it to run after hours of config editing, glxgears only ran at a few hundred frames per second.
Yesterday I installed Gentoo on my desktop (Nvidia GeForce2 Ultra) and the only problem was a compile error emerging nvidia-kernel. I simply attempted to emerge the latest masked version and all of my troubles went away.
My next video card I buy will definitely be an Nvidia, even if ATI does attempt to solve their driver problem.