I don't usually use these silly emoticons, but I found cause for celebration after the 177.70 driver today, so here goes:
Thank you so much for fixing this problem. I grabbed the 177.68 driver last night thinking I would have better luck with a beta driver, but no such luck. I checked back today just on the off chance of there being another update and lo and behold, 177.70 ftw! It works (almost) perfectly and (most importantly) there is no crash when running OpenGL apps with compositing under gnome.