I must say I don't really like StreetDeck, but everything else is worse. What I really would like is running an open source app on an open source OS. But the
truth is, the G4 runs Linux miserably, the "frontend" apps available appear to be either dead or in their infancy, and navigation on Linux sucks.

Yep, I found the same. I had initially considered a Mac Mini, with the goal of staying on OS X. Seeing what was out there killed that idea quick. The Infill G4 looked attractive since it took care of the need to kludge the hardware together, but as the empeg has taught us, software is pretty important too.

The front end software I am eyeing as an alternative is CentraFuse. While less flashy then StreetDeck, relying on buttons instead of gestures, it seems to be going in the right direction. I'm not sure how it's navigation does though, but I may be switching to it soon. The developer seems to be also much less hostile then the SD/MP3Car staff. The main issue there though is the added expense, and also lack of Infill integration. I'd lose the AM/FM radio, screen tilt controls and brightness controls.

You, living in the US, should be reasonably well off with StreetDeck. It supports a lot of goodies available in the US only, like XM, Sirius and HD Radio tuners.

I don't use any of the XM/Sirius/HD stuff, the empeg weaned me off radio long ago.

What really bothers me with StreetDeck is the (lack of) internationalization. StreetDeck designers did figure not everyone uses miles (probably saw that in MS MapPoint, their nav engine) but everything else needs to be discovered.

This actually bothers me too. I use 24 hour time on everything I can, and I still don't know an easy way to get the Streetdeck clock to use it. And the nav engine sucks. horribly. I figured it was getting confused on the local highways with the frontage roads as it would keep asking me to get off, then back on, then off, etc... But on my recent vacation to Colorado, I deduced the nav engine is just plain stupid. I tried a route from Raton, NM to Colorado Springs, and it wanted me to go out on a ton of country roads, when I-25 was right there. I decided to let it keep it's planned trip then started driving. Every attempt it got to recalculate, it wanted me to get off and find the country roads. This was when it was set to "fastest time". "Shortest distance" produces some amusing results, and "most highways" ends up sticking onto highways way too long. I'm to the point where the navigation on the thing is worthless to me now, beyond giving me a local map to see where I am, and a general arrow pointing at my destination.

But what really is unforgivable is the lack of Unicode support. This makes it a legacy app released in the 21st century. It will not play tunes with Unicode (utf-16 or utf-8) tags. It will crash on tunes with Unicode file names.

Nice. I've avoided this so far it seems, though I only have 4 gigs of music on the thing. I still can't get it to show album art, and refuse to go some proprietary way to get it in there. They have a program that is supposed to extract the art out of files for people who want to use art in the ID3 tags, but it doesn't work on my files. Guess I need to submit a full on bug report to get properly ignored, instead of my 0 replies post in the general area.

Customers who naively report these issues get hostile responses

Are you part of the "private testers" group? It's sadly no better there. My posts were part of a reason a mod made a post about "What being a private tester means", and it basically came down to "You should test our stuff and provide good full bug reports about the software only. Hardware or install issues are not our problem". Well, except that the Infill is sold with Streetdeck and I really didn't have a choice in the matter. I brought up a serious safety issue regarding the brightness of the display and the inability to manually toggle into night mode, and the issue was closed "working as designed". Basically my car offers no constant 12+ illumination wire, it's all pulsed for dimming. The Infill doesn't like this at all, so my unit is stuck in day mode on the nav screen all the time. Streetdeck has a manual toggle via a U gesture, but it's disabled intentionally on the Infill units. Coming home from my trip, I just left Streetdeck closed, set power saving to turn off the LCD, and listened to music and podcasts off my iPhone hooked to the line in. All while letting my friends TomTom do the navigation work.

Somehow, I feel much more comfortable on this board. Too bad we can't discuss things here in-depth.

Agreed. The community on MP3Car.com is horrible to any outsiders. And being that I somewhat believed that Streetdeck and the Infill G4 would be a non hacky solution has only resulted in more problems. I'm expecting the thing to do basic things properly, and it won't. Even better, MP3Car recommended solutions don't seem to get very well tested. For example, they sell a Turtle Beach Roadie USB sound card with the unit if you want to use an external amp. And a USB 2.0 hub. While I didn't use their hub, I did put the Roadie on a 2.0 hub that is mounted in the trunk. And apparently this is a nono, as it causes high CPU usage. As in 45-50% cpu usage playing back an MP3 in Windows high. Still deciding how to address that one, but it has only helped expose how slow Streetdeck can be. So many people probably run it on dual core systems in their cars, that it just hasn't had a proper optimization pass for a power efficient Via 1.5 ghz processor. Even without the Roadie CPU issue, the unit feels like it is much slower at navigation tasks then even my 5 year old Garmin.

At this point with so much sunk into my system, I'm not sure what I want to do. I really want navigation in the dash, along with good media playback. The empeg has set my expectations very high on the media side, and so far the Infill has let me down quite a bit.