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I've decided to change from Ubuntu to Debian Testing again, after a bad encounter with the Ubuntu updater. Long story short, I did not know it was going to take 4+ hours to update from 10.04 to 10.10, and when I was informed, I just killed the system power in disgust.
Anyway, as with every system I've had on this laptop ( an Acer Aspire 5536 ) I've discovered why I will never buy ATI/AMD graphics hardware again. You have two driver options - xserver-radeon and fglrx.
2. The best way (I guess) is to do it the hard way -- download the driver from the ATI site and manually configure/build/install it; This guide worked for me. Note: for openSUSE 11.1, instead of 103 use 111)
3. All the desktop effects are working now and as a welcome side-effect, openoffice.org is not crashing anymore like it...