I'm a sucker for new SL clients. I use Release Candidate clients when they come out. I've used Imprudence, and now that I've heard of it, I'll probably try the Emerald client as well. (Ixnay on Gemini; I can only find a Windows version.)
The "Snowglobe" SL client is LL's attempt to work around the ossification that the official SL client is subject to. (To use the current programming buzzword, it has a more agile development environment.) It's now available, and I think LL's decision is paying off. There are several reports of faster texture loading times.
When I first tried it out, I saw that maps were filled in more quickly, and though "Gee, that's nice." But the above-linked articles mentioned setting Advanced > Rendering > HTTP Get Textures, and that made a significant difference. I tried one of the slowest-loading places I know, the FallnAngel store, and while the objects still took their time, textures were right there. (I expect storekeepers and shoppers will especially appreciate the change. Stores necessarily have LOTS of textures to load, one per item on display.)
Lately, teleporting has been a tedious, battleship gray experience as textures and objects take a VERY long time to rez. With Snowglobe and the new setting, though, things are considerably improved. Objects still take some time--though perhaps the faster texture load means more bandwidth can be devoted to object loading--but textures load much faster. It's not the instant thing one would like, but where before, textures and objects slowly drooled into view, with Snowglobe the drool is a lot runnier. (Ick... I can't believe I typed that. Maybe I'll give breakfast a pass...)
Good job, Snowglobe people--I hope the method can be readily applied to loading objects as well as textures. (Shame on me. That's the standard user attitude. "That's nice, but can you just change this and this and this and...")