use manufacturer's driver
There don't seem to be any manufacturer's Linux driver for my machine.
play with the Window Draw mode settings in Blender's User Prefs
I've tried all five settings (including automatic) with no improvement.
turn of eye candy window managers - compiz, kde4 desktop effects, transparent compositing stuff
I'm turned off the compositor in XFCE with no improvement.
I tried another modeller, Wings3D, on the same machine. Oddly, that bombs out when I try to access any texture functionality too. So it does seem to be a graphics driver/library problem not specific to Blender.
Luckily my little netbook will run Blender properly, but it's a bit painful trying to do graphics work on a little 1024x600 screen