The most exciting news is support for the OpenGL extension
GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap. Or, as said in the mentioned Phoronix article:
We had no problems running NVIDIA 1.0-9625 drivers with AIGLX on Fedora Core 6 Test 3.
That’s amazing! Other new features are OpenGL version 2.1 support, support for Quad SLI and NVIDIA Quadro Plex and a new support for Display configurations: like with ATI drivers you are now able to switch to TwinView without restarting the X server. This was always a big disadvantage compared to for example Microsoft Windows.
But back to the AIGLX support: some might ask why this is important: the background is that Xgl – although delivering pretty cool and fancy effects – is technically a quite “bad” (read: alien) solution and breaks with lots of standards in the X system and introduces a own set of new problems due to the “hacks” which were necessary to get Xgl like it is. AIGLX, on the other hand, is an enhancement of the X server and is compliant to the X standards, so it does not have this problem. The reason why it was not used by most people was that most graphic chips where not supported. Now, with the new NVIDIA driver, this has changed. The last thing missing are ATI drivers with AIGLX support now.
Anyway, if you wonder how you can install AIGLX – it is part of the official X.Org server since version 7.1. Therefore all you have to do is to update to that version. If your window manager will support it is another question, but for example Fedora Core 6 will come with in-build AIGLX support at least in the default GNOME window manager Metacity. In other cases, the solution is most likely to install compiz – or probably the new compiz fork beryl.
However: AIGLX is now a “real” standard, which means it is supported by the masses and not only an unused something. And therefore it will find its way into most Linux distributions very quickly – and most Linux desktop distributions will have fancy desktop effects by default.
Mikos wrote me some comments about the fact that AIGLX and
GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap are not directly connected. Also, NVIDIA does not use AIGLX but uses its own (maybe closed source) indirect rendering infrastructure. Everything is a bit blurry atm but when I get new information I post them, of course 🙂