Ok, I've come up with a "solution" to this problem:
-boot the machine (X fails to load because the driver is broken)
-make sure X / GDM is killed
-run the 8178 installer _again_
-restart gdm / X
-glx stuff now works
If I reboot, the nvidia driver still works (at least for one reboot) but the GLX stuff starts segfaulting again. Just to be clear, _glx only works during the session within which the driver installer was run, gl applications fail on successive reboots_.
*Edit* - I have now experienced lots of crashiness as well, outside of GL applications with the nvidia driver loaded. If I rmmod it and use the vesa driver, the system is solid...
If I change (increase or decrease, it doesn't matter) the amount of RAM allocated to the video sub-system in the BIOS, the driver breaks and I have to go through the process again.
I've quadruple-checked the libraries and symlinks, everything looks like it is in order. IE- it matches the information in Appendix C in the NVIDIA readme, and an ldd trace on glxgears looks good.
Seems like somebody needs to fix their ****....
My guess is that it is a BIOS issue, seeing as how the BIOS splash for the video ROM says very clearly "Engineering sample, not for production use!" (Or something similar).