Linux is only an added cost when you withhold hardware specs from the community and then try to develop binary-only drivers. Because you want to hide part of your code, you have to play the eternal dance of keeping up with API changes, kernel patches, vendor kernels, etc etc etc. By withholding specs, you can't allow the community to do the work for you by writing and maintaing their own drivers.
If NVIDIA released full hardware specifications for the NV3x chipsets that could be implemented in the XFree86 nv driver, they would be - so fast it would make your head spin. It's only when the company wants to hide something that it becomes a pain.
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