I don't think intel's opensource drivers are terrible at all. So far in my linux adventures intel has been one of the best out of the box experiences. I recently switched from an ati laptop to one with intel ironlake graphics and it works quite well. Even have working h.264 video acceleration
There are definitely some issues though. for example if you enable opengl acceleration in firefox everything is horrifically slow, similar issue with chrome dev although it doesn't get slower, but it doesn't really get any faster either lol.
I hope these changes improve things further.