Dr Mike J Smith
FGDB Support coming to software near you.....
James Fee notes that ESRIs file geodatabase is finally to be (sort of) opened up with a beta of the API coming out in January (C++ based). The binaries (but probably not the source code) are being released and as the blog notes:
"This API is targeted for advanced developers who require access to the File Geodatabase without an ArcObjects license for purposes of interoperability."
So you won't need to buy ArcGIS by the sounds of things to read FGDBs, but it will be a Windows only solution (until its reversed engineered anyway).