NVIDIA released a new version of their beta ForceWare 180 drivers. There are 2 very interesting things about it worth mentioning.
First, it supports most of the OpenGL 3 ARB extensions, bringing some useful functionality such as vertex array objects (which first appeared on Mac OS X many years ago) and looser restrictions on framebuffer attachments with respect to their resolution.
However, the most exciting new feature is support for EXT_direct_state_access. That extension addresses a long-standing problem of the OpenGL API, namely state selectors. Indeed, there are quite a large number of functions in OpenGL whose behavior is affected by a number of state variables. For instance, the LoadMatrix* commands depend on the current matrix mode state. As the name suggest, EXT_direct_state_access adds a large number of new functions to OpenGL that explicitly take as an argument the object or piece of state to be modified, bypassing state selectors. This allows, for example, to load a texture matrix without changing the matrix mode first, or to change a texture parameter without binding that texture first.
As the EXT prefix suggests, this extensions is probably not likely to be adopted in the core specification in the next revision of OpenGL 3, but there’s a good chance it might be promoted to ARB, and integrated into core OpenGL by the 3.2 timeframe. This is pure speculation on my part, but this extension is something that a lot of people in the industry desire, so there should be momentum behind it.