Re: vmd 1.8.7 crashed by TrueColor visual in ubuntu 10.04
Actually, I take that back. Not having access to the device files would just result in indirect rendering. I suspect that something about your environment is causing OpenGL applications to use Mesa instead of the NVIDIA OpenGL library. Mesa has a bug that causes it to fail to fall back to indirect rendering correctly, and causes an error very much like the one you're seeing.
What does "ldd /usr/bin/glxinfo" show when you run it as root vs. non-root? Do you have LD_LIBRARY_PATH set in your environment?