Do the Vulkan drivers (https://developer.nvidia.com/vulkan-driver) incorporate all the changes in the stable/beta branch (Linux x64 (AMD64/EM64T) Display Driver | 396.24 | Linux 64-bit | NVIDIA), is what the real question is.
The previous version was 396.18.07 (released 4th May), which was “lower” than the 396.24 (2nd May).
I would expect that but then this renders that expectation wrong:
So, nobody knows, you can only try and see.
396.24.02 (and other point releases like that) comes from our Vulkan side branch, primarily used by Vulkan developers. It’s a way for us to provide hot fixes quickly. We can sometimes recommend users to use those builds for testing fixes or work around blocking issues.
Typically, these releases only ship Vulkan fixes. For 396.24.02, we rebased the side branch from the main branch to pick up extra features and fixes, such as Xorg 1.20 support. Therefore, all the fixes in 396.24 are in 396.24.02 + more.
More precisely, 396.24.02 has:
(1) All the fixes/features from 396.24
(2) All the new fixes/features that we made in 396 after we released 396.24
(3) All the hot fixes/experimental fixes that are Vulkan only
Note that all the fixes in (3) eventually make their way to the main branch. No fix is lost.
We removed support for VK_NV_glsl_shader. It will be properly advertised in our next official release through a changelog entry. The fact that 396.24 has that extension and 396.24.02 not is due to (2) described above.
I hope that helps.
Thank you for clarification. So simply put, the latest point release has always the latest vulkan features/fixes but sometimes also includes fixes for critical bugs unrelated to vulkan?
Correct. You can use the minor version to determine where the side branch branched off from the main branch (e.g. 396.18.XX was branched off 396.18, etc.) and then apply (1), (2), and (3) I described above.
We realize this is confusing. Keep in mind those point releases are mainly targeted to Vulkan developers, although we make them available to the general public.
Is there a downside to installing the Vulkan releases with higher version numbers as opposed to normal betas?
No. But we recommend users to stay on the latest build from the main branches (including betas). These builds are more thoroughly tested and have a proper changelog. Vulkan builds should be for people with specific Vulkan issues.