I've just scanned this thread and am most definitely interested in the keyboard that is being developed. Glad to see all the knowhow on geekhack is being put into practice! Add me to the list.
I've been on a quest for a better keyboard for many years and have tried *all* the usual suspects and failures, only to get more dissapointed. I'm currently compromising on a Kinesis Freestyle and concluded that separation is more important to me than angling/tenting, etc. If only it had better quality keys...
While I tried to grasp as much of the current status/development as I could, I may have missed some info, since obviously I couldn't read every single message in this thread. So forgive me if one of my comments has already been dealt with. Maybe it would be an idea to add some more FAQs on the website?
First, I agree with most of the development decisions, layout, functionality, etc. Congrats on your efforts of merging the best aspects of all current mediocre keyboards ;-)
Costs: I consider 300 dollars or more perfectly acceptable. I'm at the keyboard over 10 hours a day. I pay top money for the best ergonomic chair I can find and use high quality monitors. Why save on what I consider the most important aspect of computing: a comfortable input device. Honestly, I'd pay a lot more for any keyboard that met my needs. Quality, durability, flexibility outweigh costs.
Build: Can't really figure out how this will work. Are we supposed to order certain parts ourselves and finish the keyboard? Or will certain community members do this? My technical/engineering knowhow is too limited to do this. I can imagine this will be a mayor obstacle for people who are interested in the final product.
Functionality: While I understand the choice for compactness and minimalistic design, I find the lack of Function keys a serious flaw. Before you jump on me, let me explain. To me, a keyboard geared at heavy PC users should focus on being ergonomic in all aspects, including minimizing the usage of a mouse or pointing device. I use Alt+ Control + Function key combination hundreds of time a day in all sorts of programs and can't imagine using a keyboard that doesn't have these. It would drastically slow me down. (Does everybody seriously use a mouse to close a program when Alt+F4 is within reach?)
Adding these to a different layer or reassigning them doesn't really solve the problem: If I have to switch layers, use a combination, switch back, I'm doubling the amount of keys I have to use. If I'd assign them to the number keys, other shortcuts (such as Control+1 through 4) in Outlook are gone.
I fully understand that this contradicts some of your initial design/functionality choices, but still wanted to share my thoughts, mostly because I'm surprised this hasn't been discussed in more detail. ;-)
Maybe adding a X-keys device (key stick, XK-24) for Function keys... ?
Still interested in the keyboard though.... Hell, I'd buy a few just to keep you guys motivated!