The recovery mode of the v1 is a necessary function for the PortalPlayer / NVIDIA processor. The new family (Fuze / Clip / v2) use a different processor, the AustriaMicrosystems device. Recovery mode isn’t necessary with the new platform.
The v2 devices are far more stable (just look at the multitude of I2C rom failures), and aren’t vulnerable to accidental formatting of the reserved partition.
I wouldn’t say that SanDisk conspired to make porting Rockbox over more difficult. They have opted for a superior chipset, with increased capabilities and sound quality. Anyone who’s listened to a v1 knows that these products are in no means a “slacker”, in fact, they’re a wonderful machine. Being able to customize them via Rockbox is a welcome option.
The OGG Vorbis addition to the Clip hasn’t been entirely without glitches. Filename issues have been found as a bug, and no doubt will be resolved. Let the issues shake out a wee bit, and the improved code will be quite useful for the Fuze. Running the same processor, it’s possible to try new things on different devices. I’m sure the Fuze version will be an improvement, even if the differences are subtle.
There are several overlapping issues with the new Fuze firmware that take time to iron out. Remember, compared against even the new v2 device, the initial code for the Fuze is superb, doing most tasks better. It’s kind of an ironic twist that the wraparound scroll of the v2, and its rate, were left out. The logic for the scroll wheels is different between the two.
I’m enjoying the Fuze as it is, and patiently await the next firmware. Regardless of the quirks, it’s all about how well the wee machine drives those earbuds. I’d better get 'em back on.