Interesting to hear that indeed, well then let's hope the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative will produce something better this time...
About NV_path_rendering: I heard about it some time ago and that Mozilla is looking into it for Firefox acceleration. If I remember correctly, they were interested but said there were problems too. I still find it strange that on Windows, acceleration with Direct2D works quite well since some time for multiple Browsers, while on Linux etc. they are still failing to reach the same level (if any) of acceleration (with cairo, skia, opengl and whatnot).
Is Direct2D really that good?
Could NV_path_rendering be the savior here? - given that it would one day become ARB_path_rendering.
Why, after 3 years, is it still some rather "secret" extension?
It's probably too naive, but why not make an combined effort with for example the Mozilla folks (or Google/Skia) to get around the problems, invite the other IHV along and create ARB_path_rendering.