sorry i forgot to include these quite important details in my first post:
i am using the closed source nvidia drivers (1.0-2960 tarballs) and both kernel module and glx drivers compiled w/out complaining on my debian testing ("sarge") gnu/linux 2.4.17, so that is why i thought the monochrome xv might be a bug with nvidia's drivers.
also the messed up console / textmode might be due to my using a (sharp) tft screen, it tells me that digital (dvi) signal is out of sync in textmode after i switched to graphics mode and back, but for analog (sub-d) vga signals it reports "V:69Hz, H:31.1kHz" which i suppose should work... also when using bios setup or linux console (before having it messed up by starting x) w/ analog signals, i can't see the lines at the very top and bottom which is likely because the card produces "strange" frequencies outside its usual 1024x768 mode (which i auto-adjusted my tft to), the text-mode looks perfectly fine when using digital dvi singals though...
3d apps apparently work though for some weird reason i can't get some of the opengl xscreensavers to run with -root when they run in a window just fine (and apparently accelerated because of their high fps); unfortunately my quake3 install seems to be broken... i'll try to fix that to get a "real" opengl app running...
you said the xfree >4.2.x nv driver supposts geforce 4... i suppose that is unaccelerated (or w/out xv/opengl at least), right?