You can get a lot of information about the Nouveau project and the team that is trying to bring open source 3D graphics to Linux, over at  Some veterans of the R300 project, which did the same thing for ATI/AMD drivers, are taking their success onto the next major graphics card manufacturer.  They also mention ways in which Linux users can help out, either getting involved in the development, or just doing end-user testing.

You can also read an Q&A interview with two of the developers at Phoronix, to get a better idea of the teams successes and goals.  There are quite a few questions that get answered, from the hardware that will be supported to licensing issues and more.
“Currently, GNU/Linux users with Nvidia graphics cards have two choices: Either use the proprietary drivers and violate their free software principles, or use the free nv driver and do without 3-D acceleration. The Nouveau project is working to overcome this dilemma by producing its own set of fully functional free Nvidia drivers. We talked to Stephane Marchesin and Ben Skeggs, two of the active developers in Nouveau, about the history of the project and the current status of its work.

Like several others working on video drivers, both Marchesin and Skeggs got their start in the field in the R300 project, a discontinued project whose members attempted to understand 3-D acceleration on a family of ATI Radeon cards. Skeggs worked largely on fragment shaders, a graphics function that calculates and renders effects pixel by pixel, but says that, at the time, “I really had no idea how all the various bits of a full graphics driver fit together.” By contrast, Marchesin was more deeply involved, reverse-engineering Hyperz, a processing technique that improved rendering speed, and tiling, a standard rendering technique, as well as porting 3-D functionality to the Itanium platform. “It was surely fun to see the Quake 3 frame rate go up as changes were made,” Marchesin recalls.”

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

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