Android OS is linux, so a root-friendly Android phone could be an option. I don't know if you can bypass the google account requirement, but if you install a firewall on the (rooted) phone you can control what gets network access or not. I particularly dislike the fact that google wants to sync all your contacts and get all your phone numbers, etc. For me that is going too far.
Most Android apps will require full net access, mostly to show you ads, but some want to know your location as well, and it's a all or nothing proposition, you either accept giving all the permissions the app asks an run it, or you don't install it at all, there's no finer control of access privileges.
Maybe someone more knowledgeable could give more insights? It might be a good idea to hold on to that N900, even if you are missing out on a large ecosystem of apps.
I just found a recent slashdot article that you should read: http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/01/06/1344223/Smartphones-For-Text-SSH-Use-Re-Revisited
Unfortunately there are people involved in the ownership of these mobile devices [...]
Unfortunately you don't really own a smartphone, even one that isn't tied down to a contract and paid big bucks to carry around. The phone doesn't obey to you instead obeys to the manufacturer, to google, to the app developers, etc. It keeps sipping information and reporting it back to headquarters, and it's blocked in such a way that bypassing that is not practical.
I was surprised to find that android phones *require* a google account, or that a iPod Touch requires being connected with iTunes to start. A HTC Desire comes with lots of widgets running in the background that you can't turn off (and it's even worse on Android 2.2, Froyo) and the terms of service clearly states they may collect data on you (duh!). Many apps requires far more permissions than they should, so after a while you either give up and ignore the permission requests or don't use any of them.
Mobile privacy? Is there such a thing?
I have noticed a disproportionate number of intellectuals are depressed.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 (King James Version)
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
My favourite is still:
Branch on Bug
The Bible: Those who believe shall be able to do miracles, such as drink poison and not get hurt, or heal the sick (Mark 15:17). So if you follow Christ and you can't do those things, then......yeah, you've just falsified it.
The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2016&version=NIV)
John 13:35 (New International Version)
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
[...]Each time Firefox checks in with the third party provider to download a new blacklist, Non-Personal Information and Potentially Personal Information, such as the information that the browser sends every time you visit a website as well as the version number of the blacklist on your system, is sent to the third party provider. In order to safeguard your privacy, Firefox will not transmit the complete URL of web pages that you visit to anyone. While it is possible that a third party service provider may determine the actual URL from the hashed URL sent, [...]
When a Banker jumps out of a window, jump after him--that's where the money is. -- Robespierre