I am running Linux at the moment with a Geforce 740 and I have not installed the proprietary drivers at all. I am using the Nouveau drivers and my system is performing very quickly indeed. Previously, I had a Radeon HD6670 installed and the open-source drivers were used. And in that case, the system was very quick and reliable. This is how Linux should be, free of binary blob drivers to get hardware working. This is with the 4.0.0 Linux kernel. Light-years ahead of the previous 3.0.0 kernel series. On Windows 7 Ultimate it is still necessary to install proprietary drivers, but Linux and UNIX should be free of such encumbrances. The main wish I have for Linux distributions is to remove the many sound systems and leave one working system like Pulseaudio and make setting up sound easier. I have had problems on Linux where sound output was switched to HDMI and it could not be switched back to speaker output. That is annoying. The hardware support of Linux is very good, but why is it that I plug in a Turtle Beach PLA USB headset and select sound output to it, I need to unmute it in Alsamixer to actually get sound output?
Still, the fact that this hardware works out of the box on Linux without needing driver installation is amazing. If my experiences are the same for everyone else that is running Linux, then the future is looking very bright. This makes the Linux desktop much more approachable if the user does not need to install the drivers for all hardware when trying to get something working. This is what a desktop should be like, you should not need to install drivers manually, everything should be taken care of by the operating system, that is how a desktop operating system should be configured. The Ubuntu Unity desktop is very fast and snappy with an Nivida card. Faster than with an ATI video card. The Nouveau driver does a very good job of powering a fast hardware accelerated desktop interface. I am looking forward to new desktops on Linux. The Unity example can be confusing and I wish that the dock could be horizontal on the bottom of the screen like Mac OSX. Allowing just a little more screen real-estate. Just a little bit on a 1080p screen. But that is a small complaint. The main thing I hate is the update manager hint popping up all of the time. I only use
sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get upgrade anyway, I never use the GUI for performing updates of software.