Usually when -mesa works, we suspect video card driver issues.
Some back history: One of the key efforts in 2009R2 release was to resolve a symptom where remote display would cause the X.org server to spin up to 100% CPU usage. We'd been working with a local customer who'd had this occur. We suspected video drivers, but they were pretty sure theirs were current. Since we were unable to reproduce it in house, we considered other ideas. One of these was to change the way we generate display lists (what gets drawn on the screen). In prior versions of Tecplot, we'd send one ginormous list. It's not a problem with smaller datasets, but for large ones, there will be times where the display seems to be unresponsive because the video card is waiting for/processing a sizable list of OpenGL commands.
A side effect we noticed internally was machines with older NVIDIA drivers (say, prior to 185.*) would exhibit weird symptoms. The customer tried the new version, reporting the same problems with X.org plus weird symptoms. We then realized they were using the original (version 169.*) NVIDIA driver that came with their system. Updating this to 185.* cured both symptoms on their machines. We test internally with 185.* and 191.* on various machines.
<"jim's personal opinion, not reflective of Tecplot's corporate positioning">
NVIDIA's drivers are a bit flighty. Another customer reporting problems with SUSE 11 and KDE 4 observed those were fixed by the 196.75 versions of the drivers, but those were just recalled because they shut off the GPU fan (which is kind of important). According to NVIDIA's site, 197.13 is the replacement.
<"/jim's personal opinion, not reflective of Tecplot's corporate positioning">