Ah, just managed to get UT 428 operational! Daniel Vogel released a small patch to the game, to fix an apparent driver problem with TNT cards and Unreal Tournament. TNT1/2 owners, you'd be wanting this file from the OpenUT site.
Nvidia released another revision of their Linux drivers, now they're up to 0.9-5. Currently available on Nvidia's FTP sites and via a DCC bot on #nvidia (irc.openprojects.net).
It's more of a stability release. The most significant of these is the fixing of the 'console switching' bug, where a simple switch to a Virtual Console would hard-lock the box. There's a mention in the changelog that certain 'palette issues' were fixed, I'd have to see how an Open-GL-enabled xmame fairs with this thing now.
Most people seem to suffer a slight (read 'very slight') performance loss with the new drivers, it varies from system to system and the video card used in each. You'd prefer stability first, and performance second, I'm sure.
Oh, the drivers aren't open-sourced yet either. We could go over the various issues here, but let's not. :) I'm thankful technology like this can be used under 'alternate' (cough) operating systems. ripperda (Linux driver developer) is probably overworked through all of this, /msg him your appreciation sometime if you use these pieces of goodness.
I feel for squiggy, it sounds similiar to my current situation (work hard and make sacrifices to obtain a position, and then discover it's nothing like you expected), though not nearly as severe. I hope that you work out what you'd like to do, and how to go about it. Your entry has made me think about my own priorities, thanks.