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If you don't like hours of messing with a driver: don't run Linux and for heavens sake, don't run Gentoo. It's kiddies with this mentality that make people label sects of a community as zealots. It was originally made for hackers to have fun, and sticking a pretty GUI on top of that doesn't really change that fact. Deep down inside, Linux is ugly like some fat geek's buttox. Grandma still isn't supposed to install her leenucks and get on AOL.
All of that said, by all means have some fun and share it with folks! It's useful, it can be stable, and it's just plain awesome. Why complain?
The bottom line: it's wrong to expect any of it to work. You'd be lucky if ATi donated an hour of their time by paying a 16 year old dork minimum wage to make your driver. We're obviously quite a bit more lucky than that given the support that FOSS has.