As an owner of one OpenMoko FreeRunner since July 2008, I do not want to let people think OM is not a working phone. (I am sorry for my english as I am french)
The FreeRunner has been my only phone for 10 months.
At the beginning there were lots of problems, with battery autonomy and lots of missing services (because software was bugged or simply inexistant). But lots of devs did lot of work...
Today it's not the big revolution, but still I enjoy my FR and find it usable :
I can phone, receive or send messages (SMS), use my gps (tangogps, or navit if I am in my car), connect to wifi spots (using wifimofi), surf on the web (ewww, midori, gnash or swfdec if you want flash), read ebooks, use bluetooth to make the FR be a universal remote control device (remoko project), play games (pinball, Doom on accelerometers, numptyphysic...)
The battery lives for ~8h without sleeping (screen on), ~3 days on normal usage (with screen off/sleep mode when not used directly, of course GSM still runs)... it's not tremendous, but acceptable if we compare with other smartphones.
On a more geek point of view, I can log myself through ssh -X (and run my GPS apps on my desktop computer), I can "share" my FR with my PC (using x2x, sshfs, ...), I can do cool things with accelerometers and xrandr, I can develop easily (same as on my desktop), I can even boot Debian from my 8go microSD card (giving access to the complete debian packages repository), I also have a mini USB port which could run in host mode, so I can plug usb flash drive, a printer, a keyboard/mouse... (even a 3G dongle, but I think battery will not support that during hours)
What are the problems :
- the buzzing noise : depending on GSM provider and current geo localization, you can suffer of lots of noise while phoning. I don't have any problem at work, but I have the noise in certain rooms of my house (25km from my work). This problem HAS BEEN HW-FIXED in revision GTA02v7. Therefore you can buy a FreeRunner now without this buzzing problem. Existing FR could be fixed too, community is organizing fixing parties (it requires good soldering skills indeed)
- slow graphics : HW chip was designed for QVGA but runs in VGA. It beautiful for browser, ebook readers or terminal, but not for video or animation (video should be downscaled to QVGA). Moreover data bus is shared with microSD, so IO access to sd card slows display.
- no 3G : 3G means +=200$ on price, but it would be great to have 3G, to have high-speed internet connection when there is no wifi spots.
FR is absolutely not ready for mass users (!developers), because you have to install and configure your distro (as for linux some years ago), then you must be aware that some updates could break things and you will have to downgrade sometimes to get back your FR to a functional state.
But release after release the FR becomes better.