The project was initiated in response to the lack of quality in the Free Software-based hardware solutions currently on the market. As many reviewers and end-users have stated, the pre-installed software used by hardware vendors generated a bad image for Free Software with potentially interested end-users. Much of the software was buggy and not widely tested and device drivers were often unstable, non-free or not available at all.
There’s a lot of questions to answer yet – what form factor, what software, etc – so they are running a survey to try and gauge peoples thoughts. The site says there is a second survey planned for a later date, presumably focusing in on options once they’ve got general ideas. The other interesting thing is that they’ve apparently already got a major PC manufacturer lined up and they are aiming to be shipping by late 2009 with part of the profits going to funding FOSS projects.
There is more information in Frank Karlitschek’s presentation (PDF) from the Desktop Summit in Gran Canaria.