As far as the crippled parts of it, I've found that I can get around most of those with BitPim. I can download photos from the phone's internal memory, and upload/download MP3s and pictures to the memory card, and do all of this for free (much to Verizon's dismay... they wanted all of that stuff broken so that they could charge for it). I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but there is a workaround for the broken ringtone uploading as well. In the past, I've not played much with special ringtones but, should the urge ever strike...
Pretty much the only thing that I haven't been able to do so far is download videos taken with the phone, but I don't see myself using that nearly as much as still photos anyway.
[Update @ 9:06pm]
Eh, forget workarounds... one little tweak, and everything works... at least as far as getting ringtones on the phone :-)
[Update @ 9pm 5/11]
Video transfer/conversion is working now as well... that about covers it, I think!