There's an open driver for Intel, and the AMD/ATI people are slowly delivering specs - but
where exactly does the contributed drivers/specs plug in?
Until recently a little of it went into the kernel, and then a duplication of effort in X,
with some 2D stuff completely divorced from the 3D stuff that went into an opengl
implementation. And using both frame buffer driver and X.org driver for the same card was
discouraged (sometimes or always? dunno).
Now stuff are evolving into a coherent infrastructure, with Gallium 3D picking up the 3D
interface - and kernel duplication slowly migrating out of X.org (with the vision of not
having to run X as root some time in the future, yay :). If this infrastructure is built
primarily around one hardware implementation, it may turn out not to be as useful as we are
currently hoping. So the more, the merrier.
I think Nouveau development isn't detracting from the other free implementations, since it
adds in the common parts of free 3D graphics and since it raises the general level of
expertise (sp?). Do we know for a fact that these developers would have been working on
Intel/ATI drivers, if there had been no Nouveau project? (Well, I mean apart from David