This is my page containing information regarding using ATI graphics cards under Debian Linux, this dos't include information on using the binary drivers from ATI just the open source ones.
Once I used to be able to do as http://www.cc.jyu.fi/~jajuhein/xe4500/debian-on-xe4500-page.html. However last time i tried there were a file missing in my kernel folder, most likely because I this time used a 2.6 kernel
So this time i tried to compile it by myself.
This is kind of a short note on how I did it, so I can do it again.
I first tried as stated in The DRI documentation I however never got hardware acceleration to work, it looked like a problem with different versions of the drivers and the mesa library
The easy way to do it
Luckily it turned out that there is easier way use an ATI graphics card (up to 9200 series, see the DRI web page) (at least if you use Debian Linux (unstable with kernel 2.6.10).
Instead of using the XOrg X11 server I used the XFree86 server from xserver-xfree86 (4.3.0.dfsg).
DRI came from a kernel 2.6.10 (remember agpgart for your AGP chipset and DRI drivers for your GFX chipset, MTRR sould also be enabled for optimal performance).
Mesa 3D library came form xlibmesa-gl, xlibmesa-glu and most importantly xlibmesa-dri (gives you hardware 3D acceleration) all version (4.3.0.dfsg).
One important note: Don't try to be friendly and load the DRI radeon kernel driver. XFree86 won't notice the gesture and try to load its own version, this results in the AGP driver being used(locked) by the manually loaded driver, the XFree one fails to get it emitting an warning, disabling DRI, emitting another warning about that. Finally you are left without hardware acceleration, just because you wanted to be nice :o)
This might be what went wrong with the XOrg "home-brewed" server, I will never know.
Congratulation, you should now have hardware 3D acceleration, test it with glxinfo and glxgears.