Public beta 9 is now live - this should fix null texture crashes (we hope - if you still see one in beta 9, please do report it with log files!) and has a performance improvement we've been working on for AMD Windows hardware.*
10.52: We do have a back-port to X-Plane 10 for this fix; had we figured this out any later we probably wouldn't have brought it back. I had 10.52 (which is just 10.51 with an external visual sync fix) staged on the servers when we figured out what to do for AMD cards. My new plan is to recut 10.52 with the AMD fix. This will probably not happen until at least mid February due to other deadlines that come first.
Physics: Austin's flight model changes for bodies shadowing control surfaces is not in public beta 9; it should be ready for the next beta. While I don't know exactly how much more beta we have, my hope is that we get to RCs in a few weeks.
Scenery: I have a mostly recut scenery set, but it still has one bad tile. Besides fixing the bad DSF tile, I am still working on how the installer will handle the update. Digital download customers will be able to download this updated global scenery; we are working to make the download separate from sim updates, so that you don't have to download a 50 GB scenery update to get a 26 MB sim update.
The good news is: the new scenery set will meet our size requirements even with northern latitude included. So we don't have to decide between DVDs and Alaska; we can do both.
Alpilotx also has an import of tall buildings outside the US from OSM - this is a really great improvement, particularly for European cities.
Servers: we moved the master copy of X-Plane to a new server, and we've gotten some reports of poor download speed from users. At this point we think that this is a temporary slow-down as the content delivery network re-caches the simulator, but we'll keep monitoring the situation and work with our CDN provider if problems persist.
Clouds: I am still fighting with cloud performance, so this work is not in a public beta yet, because it's not quite ready for prime-time.
* The short version, for OpenGL nerds, is that we're using system memory and not an orphaned VBO, to source the quads for text. Because we draw a lot of text and the draw sizes are very small, we appeared to be exhausting the number of orphaned buffers the driver could provide, leading to stalls. I am working on a more advanced solution to the problem, but in the mean time, using system memory for small draws fixes the problem.