Historically, power consumption has always been a problem with the linux kernel. Developers either aren't in tune with user demands (probably because they sit at desktops all day long or buy extra extended batteries to use with their Thinkpads, which are the only notebook any one of them would even consider) or just don't think of it as high priority (again, reflecting the enterprise slant of development efforts).
Note that power consumption IS very important to enterprises. Data centers are generally limited by power consumption, not space or money to buy equipment. A 10% decrease in power consumption leads to 10% more CPUs under the same building, which leads to profit.
dedicate a couple release cycles to power management
I seriously believe that Linus should consider dedicating a couple of kernel release cycles to power management alone. Almost entirely accept only patches that tackle directly or indirectly power consumption issues, on all fronts. Make it also fun, with a 'Love mother Earth' or such tag line/theme. And what a better time to do so that this year, celebrating 20 years of Linux!
It is equally important for distributions to focus on power as well. I think Fedora is now making an active move in that directions with power-test liveCDs and such.
Deanjo stop with this os x bullshit. It loses with Linux badly in many areas, so praising it's doubtful advantages won't help.
Kraftman it isn't BS. It is just plain fact. OS X beats linux in many areas as well and in the case of power management it has had an implementation that has worked properly going back to the original Mac. It took years for even microsoft to come up with decent power management. With Win 7 they have finally worked on it enough that it is finally usable. It is no secret that linux has shitty power management and has been a sore point for a long time. It's to bad that you get so offended by reality.
After doing a very basic test in my working laptop with powertop, I found I'm having significantly more wakeups-from-idle per second with 2.6.38 (about 230) than with 2.6.35 (about 170). This means my CPU is waking up from idle more 26% than before! It's a significant difference...
I did my test only with my computer booted in OpenBox (without any programs loaded).
Btw, my laptop doesn't seem hotter with 2.6.38 than with 2.6.35, but more wakeups-from-idle per second means my CPU is spending more power...
p.s.: I hope the kernel devs fix this problem in 2.6.39...