Any call to gluNewQuadric now seems to cause a segmentation violation immediately on recent versions of 32 bit x86 Linux. I have tested this on Ubuntu Jaunty, and Arch Linux with pacman updates more recent than ~4/1/09. Identical code runs normally on Ubuntu 8.04, Arch versions from 2008, and any version of Mac OS X. I thus assume this is a compatibility issue with recent changes in xorg or OpenGL.
My app uses PyOpenGL 3.0.0 with the glcanvas context provided by wxWidgets 22.214.171.124. Based on my testing, however, I don't think wx is involved in the crash. I can duplicate the segv with 100% reliability in highly reduced scripts that call gluNewQuadric. I can also run the full program simply by commenting out the call to gluNewQuadric, and subsequently drawing points and lines instead of spheres and cylinders.