Jens Owen of Tungsten Graphics (mostly former VA Linux/Precision Insight employees) posted to the DRI developer’s mailing list with some excellent news about the future of DRI drivers for the ATi Radeon 8500 video card:
The Weather Channel is funding TG to develop an open source 3D DRI driver for the ATI Radeon 8500 graphics card. The driver will be released to the XFree86 Project around Q4 of 2002, to be distributed to the public in future versions of the XFree86 X Server.
Presumably this means that this Weather Channel is the one footing the bill for the development. Given that the current Linux support for the 8500 is limited to a binary-only driver that is intended for a related professional-level card, the delivery of an open driver is excellent news.
It should be noted that ATi is expected to announce their new line of cards, based on the R300 chipset used to run the Doom III demos at E3, in the coming months. Linux support for the 3D portion of those cards is unknown at this time.