I'm aware that there are users who successfully use Esri File Geodatabases with QGIS 1.8 Lisboa. FGDB support in QGIS requires the Esri API for FGDB, which is not open source (as I understand), and QGIS does not support it by default. Has this year (2013) brought any new significant improvements in support for the FGDB format, for improved read/write functionality for instance, or is something forthcoming for next year (2014) to lessen the setup time for using this format?
It works fine. As far as I know osgeo4w compiles the API on it's own. I don't think I've had any trouble with it all year. These are from yesterdays build of QGIS 1.9 Master (fa135f0):