Not sure what the problem is but to answer your question about whether it is a configuration problem or a programming bug then I’d suggest to download the NeHe tutorial 13 code http://nehe.gamedev.net/tutorials/lesson13.asp
and compile this.
The reason I say this is because I have a freshly installed RH7 and it works fine on mine (I have an ATI RAGE 128 card at work and a VOODOO 3 2000 at home and it works on both). Then you’ll know if it is a configuration error or not.
Download the code labelled:
DOWNLOAD Linux/GLX Code For This Lesson. ( Conversion by Mihael Vrbanec )
Which you will find at the bottom of the page (no real need to read the tutorial, unless you want to :-).
You will need to edit the line glutInitDisplayMode (somewhere around line 233) and delete the GLUT_ALPHA option because this doesn’t work.
The makefile works for me - just type make lesson13 and it should work.
Hope this is what you were after.