Well one of the updates in the 261 package listed something to the affect of making changes so it would compile under RH9. So I just assumed 256 would not, but I am not sure I tried it.
so I downloaded the "source" form 256 and 261. cut and paste the nvnet subfolder from 256 into 261. then compile and install the new combined driver. no problems even without the optimization=1 line.
...And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.