NVIDIA will support the 304 family of its proprietary Linux graphics drivers as legacy drivers until the end of 2017. The company says that it will also occasionally update the branch to work with new Linux kernels and versions of X Server. The new series of drivers is aimed at owners of graphics hardware which will no longer be supported by the successors to the 304 driver series. These include most GeForce 6000 and 7000 series models and Quadro models such as the FX 4000. A list of the graphics cores for which support is (as anticipated) being dropped in the latest drivers can be found in an article in NVIDIA’s support knowledgebase.
This knowledgebase article also provides some details on plans for older legacy driver series: the 173 series will be maintained until the end of 2013. This was the last series of NVIDIA’s proprietary graphics drivers to support GeForce 5 FX series models. Additionally, the recently released version 96.43.23 legacy driver will be the final version in the 96.x series, which supports GeForce 4 hardware. The 96.x generation of drivers was extended to include support for X Server 1.12, which was released in March. As such, it is unlikely that it will support X.org’s recently releasedX Server 1.13. However, those wanting to use a distribution containing the new version of X Server with GeForce 4 hardware can switch to the nouveau driver, which has been developed by open source developers independently of NVIDIA.