NVIDIA has rolled out its first beta in the expected 256.xx driver series for Linux, Windows, and other supported platforms. Last month we asked what you wanted from the NVIDIA 256.xx driver
and while many of the respondents didn't get their greatest wishes answered, the 256.25 beta driver does offer quite a bit of changes over the previous-generation proprietary NVIDIA driver.
The NVIDIA 256.25 Beta Linux driver that was just released yesterday brings many improvements, among which is new GLX protocol support for many new OpenGL extensions. These extensions added to their support list include GL_ARB_blend_func_extended, GL_ARB_draw_buffers_blend, GL_ARB_sample_shading, GL_ARB_timer_query, GL_EXT_draw_buffers2, GL_EXT_separate_shader_objects, GL_NV_explicit_multisample, and GL_NV_transform_feedback.
The NVIDIA 256.xx driver series also carries many changes for VDPAU, NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix. VDPAU now supports basic Xinerama, VDPAU now better supports corrupted video clips, support for new APIs for sharing VDPAU surfaces between it and CUDA, and various other VDPAU bug-fixes.
Other changes include improvements to the thermal settings reporting in the nvidia-settings panel, an interaction problem with Compiz and "screen scraping" VNC servers, renaming the libGLcore.so.VERSION file to libnvidia-glcore.so.VERSION, and various other maintenance work.
NVIDIA has also begun making improvements to its Linux installer, but we don't yet have a nice GUI-driven installer. The installer improvements made so far include simplifying its directory structure, removing the pre-compiled kernel interfaces from the NVIDIA package and installer as they weren't really useful in years, and the package .tar.gz files within the installer are now compressed with BZIP2 to conserve space.
The full list of changes with Linux x86/x86_64 download links can be found at NvNews.net