If there would be an open source, free, driver for nvidia cards supporting 3D, but only at 50% of the speed the current binary driver offers, I would take the open source choice immediately, without hesitation. At least someone seems to be trying to get it done: < http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/
I have even been thinking of switching my GF4Ti4800 to an Ati 9200-series card, as those should have an open source 3d-support. Now if someone just sold me one...
This is on my home computer, where I rarely actually need 3D, but sometimes I do play games. I work in Lappeenranta University of Technology and I do stuff that nowadays requires 3D-acceleration. Even there I would switch to free nvidia drivers if they would provide just enough power to get my work going. And if a free driver would exist for any middle-class or better graphics card, that vendor would get my love. And money. Do you know any? I don't.
From recently I will do everything I can to avoid buying hardware that requires closed source drivers. Closed source user space parts I would probably accept, but not in the kernel, not anymore.
The link golding posted is a pearl, and here's another one:
I know I may have to wait for a long time, but in the mean time I will be watching < http://wiki.duskglow.com/tiki-index....=Open-Graphics
>, who knows, maybe I'll end up bying their devel board.