nv was not really open source, it was obfuscated source.
They included almost no comments, almost no whitespace, would not accept or encourage outside patches, and much of it was written in hex to confuse people outside of Nvidia. Then they even ran parts of it through a C preprocessor before releasing that code to make it even more confusing. The programming specifications never left Nvidia, and so the only people that were even allowed to know why the driver was doing anything it did was...Nvidia.
They did everything they could to make it of as little use as possible to anyone other than themselves and then nominally licensed the resulting unintelligable crap under the MIT license so that they could get "something" basic and shitty included with the X11 distribution as a broken stepping stone to their blob.
Now they won't even talk about Nouveau, their official documentation says to use vesa until you can install their blob. They're petty tyrants and nobody should even consider buying their hardware.
I prefer working hardware, no matter if the driver is oss or not. For some cards you have got the choice for others you don't. You may not like vesa, but if you buy a 500€ card would you use nouveau for it even if it allows basic 3d? It is nice to have got some 3d accelleration with oss drivers, but often you really want to use everything you paid for and just install binary drivers. But there is a huge diff between amd and nvidia binary...
Was there any logic behind testing Heaven with a DX10 card? Did you run Heaven without tesselation or did only the 9800GTX run without? I know that you just run your whole suite on every card but maybe mention that something is special about that test.
Good article. Nvidia still wears the crown on Linux. However, helping the nouveau guys a little hand would be top-notch indeed.
About the OC-ing: I have always preferred to flash the card's BIOS with higher clock speeds than doing it with software. I know about the risks, but it makes everything so much easier... This is still an option for Linux users who really want to use higher clocks. Cards like the custom GTX 560 with better coolers and the like really can handle some extra load, you easily get 15% - 20% more out of it without too much effort.
I didn't notice any mention of this, but can all four displays be used at the same time? I'd love to ditch my multi card hack that I am running at the moment. Even better is if it works with nouveau with all screens.