Re: setting up OpenGL in Linux.
There are two different (actually more) OpenGL libraries for Linux. One is the libGL.so from Mesa which can be used for software rendering and which is used by most DRI drivers (radeon, intel, ..). Then you have the opengl libraries from Nvidia which ofcourse only work for Nvidia cards.
The 'standard' way for using OpenGL on Linux is by using X and glX calls (GLX is similar to WGL on Windows). When you use X/glX stuff your program is in general limited to UNIXes. For this reason lots of people use either glut or SDL for setting up OpenGL. These libraries abstract away the X/GLX stuff in a platform independant way.