I just used default drivers long enough to setup rpmfusion repos than installed the current nvidia driver .
Good point about the experience being similar regardless of distro. All of the good-community-member distros push their fixes upstream, and we all use the same upstream code. Thus the experiences are very similar.
The "hard" part in Fedora is that the user does not have at-install access to e.g. RPMFusion.org without knowing about it in the first place. (It can be included during the install, if you know about it.) Since Fedora also doesn't prompt to install legacy proprietary drivers or multimedia codecs or etc., you get the classic chicke-and-egg problem.
Yeah, sometimes I do wish that the installer or post-install stuff gave some option for the closed source drivers from Nvidia & ATI. Would make walking new users through install easier.
I do understand the philosophy behind why the devs don't do it, even though IMHO it does hurt user experience somewhat for those who are new to all of this (Linux in general).
Doesn't really bother me all that much, something over a decade ago I started out on FreeBSD before moving to Linux, so I'm used to doing things the hard way ;)
Even if the philosophy weren't there, the law is. Fedora's main sponsor, Red Hat, has to adhere to US laws, including the DMCA. Too bad Bob Young et al didn't incorporate on the Isle of Man!
The fact is, while I understand how nice it is to make things easier for new users, we are doing them and the wider world a serious disservice when we make it easy for the proprietary video drivers to be used. Intel's open source drivers are making leaps and bounds in quality, and it would be faster if we had all of the Linux distros and their users doing the right thing. Better quality FLOSS drivers for Intel puts enormous pressure on ATI and NVidia.
I know there is concern from those IHVs about patents and their secret code. Perhaps the Open Invention Network + open sourcing their drivers is the right solution?
I must admit, I'm not fully up on the legality of including Nvidia's drivers, nor have I really even read the license (I know, bad me, heh). What you are saying makes sense.
And don't get me wrong. I love Fedora, I have it installed on every system I own (5 at last count), and several systems at work. For experienced users, the driver thing is barely even a slight annoyance, if at all. It's the newbies that get confused by it.
I don't really agree that Intel open sourcing puts any real pressure on ATI/Nvidia though. As things currently stand, if you want to do any serious gaming, you're basically stuck with one of the two. Intel's graphic chipsets are fine for normal day to day office use, or older lighter weight games, but are not even close to the ATI/Nvidia offerings when it comes to modern 3D shooters or even MMO's. I applaud Intel for open sourcing, but I don't really see it as a game changer unless they start producing something that can compete performance wise with the other two in the high-end market.
If ATI or Nvidia went completely open, it would exert much more pressure on the other.
It would be great if that happened, but I don't get up in arms about it. Fully open drivers would be best, but at least Nvidia cares enough to release drivers for Linux. I'm just grateful that I have fast accelerated 3D graphics on my Linux box, regardless of the source. (pun intended)