Just found the main reasons why this ATI graphics update didn't work.
1. According to this
The power management voltage support comes by means of four patches:
- patch default power state with default clocks/voltages on r6xx+
- radeon_set_power_state fixes
- voltage fixes
- add support for SetVoltage cmd table
Right now these are just patches sitting on the DRI mailing list. These patches potentially could still end up in the Linux 2.6.35 kernel otherwise they will make it in the Linux 2.6.36 kernel a few months later.
The patches to the kernel are coming in 2.6.35, but I'm on 2.6.33
2. Apparently some of the r600 development work was going on on a personal git tree that someone took at some point. The main tree moved on, however. Somebody has now married them up and put it in a third git tree. This third tree was located here
3. Jerome Glasse of Red Hat is working on a r600g driver that will be added in there and be a boon for r600 owners. He's got it working more or less, but rather less than more, and it was not in a fit state for diehard alpha testers yet.
4. Apparently tiling support is also for 2.6.35
Hopefully the DRM bits for this tiling support, which can lead to performance enhancements, will land still in the Linux 2.6.35 kernel thus allowing the tiling support to appear in most Linux distribution updates this fall.
So my idea of taking the summer off, and trying again in the autumn seems to have been a good idea because these guys will be putting different bits of this together.
Maybe 2011, we'll have decent ati drivers bedded down. I did automate an update to slackware-current, but the results weren't encouraging. Despite an upgradepkg --reinstall on everything. Too many compiles thrown in on top, I imagine.