[ubuntu] state of open source ATI driver vs. the closed driver for 'old' cards?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I wonder what the state / performance of the open source ATI driver is now, when compared to the closed source driver for 'old' cards. currently, I'm stuck with Ubuntu 8.10, as that's the last edition that comes with the 'old' ATI drivers, that support my ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 card. (which is 'old' according to ATI/AMD, even though it's a 3 year old top-of-the-line card). when I upgraded to 9.04 this spring, and was stuck with the open source driver, well, 3D performance was dismal. does anyone know if the open source ATI driver has improved since then, in terms of performance? is there a point to upgrade to 9.10 for example? I'm looking mostly towards gaming, like quake, enemy territory, X-Plane, and custom OpenGL development as well. (Hardware)