There has been alot of talk about the Mesa driver in Linux. One of the new things that has been talked about as the savior of 3d graphics on Linux is the Gallium technology. This technology is supposed to make writing drivers easier and to allow for much more functionality in the Linux 3d stack.
While I am not a gallium expert, I know enough to build the driver and test it out. So I started with my stock Fedora 13 setup (64bit, Q6600, 8GB RAM). I followed the wiki and installed the Kernel, libdrm, mesa and the ATI driver all from git. It took a little while, but it was reasonable to get going. It really helped that I had built many of these components before when the r600c driver originally came out, so I knew the process.
So after installing all the components I booted my machine and plymouth came up, but GDM was a black screen. So I disabled rhgb on the kernel boot line and rebooted. This time I got a working GDM. I fixed the plymouth problem by running /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-update-initrd.
I logged into my normal desktop and compiz was running fine. I verified that I was indeed running gallium, by using glxinfo.
glxinfo | grep OpenGL
OpenGL vendor string: X.Org
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on RV635
OpenGL version string: 2.1 Mesa 7.10-devel
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.20
I then did a few tests with the r600g to see how things were working. glxgears seems to work as did many of the other demos (tunnel, tunnel2, geartrain, dinoshade, etc). All the demos were running right around 60fps, which is the refresh rate of my monitor, so far so good.
I ran IOQuake 3 in a window on my desktop (1024x768 I believe) and averaged around 30fps. With r600c I got around 90fps. So I'm not sure if that is due to the change in mesa to reduce tearing or not. Vdrift and Extreme TuxRacer both ran at around 20fps both in a 800x600 window on my desktop. That is the fastest Vdrift has ran on my machine. Google Earth also ran quite well even in 32bit mode.
I ran Diablo II via wine in both directdraw and opengl mode and it ran at a solid 25fps for the few minutes I played it.
So far the r600g driver appears to be working decently, I'm sure there are things to fix as it is still in development. But, it appears to be working well.