NVIDIA has already made its plans clear about the legacy drivers, but now the company decided that it’s time to explain a little better what it is going to do regarding the support for old video cards in UNIX systems.
NVIDIA provides multiple driver branches for different categories of users and graphics cards. Each driver is designed to fill a particular niche and they are separated in a few clear categories: Long Lived Branch, Short Lived Branch, and Legacy.
The Long Lived Branch driver for Linux is basically the current stable release. It’s not updated too often, but it’s used in many Linux distributions because it provides much needed stability. The latest one is 331.49.
The Short Lived Branch can be considered the Beta Linux driver, and this branch is updated a lot more often, usually to provide support for newly released chipsets.