I know people have trouble accepting it, but I want to offer once again the philosophical principle that true freedom implies the right and ability to commit yourself and to constrain your future actions. This principle should be very acceptable to the FSF, because it is the basis for their argument that the GPL is more free than BSD style licenses. Superficially, the BSD is more free, because it let's you do whatever you want. But the FSF argues that the GPL is actually freer, because it let's you do whatever you want only as long as you let others do whatever they want with the result. Imposing this limitation on freedom, paradoxically, increases freedom.
And really, this should not seem paradoxical, because we see the same principle all the time in everyday life. Every time someone signs a contract, he commits to performing certain actions and thereby limits his own freedom. The same thing happens when two lovers promise to be faithful. The point is that the essence of true freedom requires the ability to voluntarily limit your own freedom.
This is where the FSF, along with much of the network community, has gotten off on the wrong foot with some of these hardware technologies, in particular Trusted Computing. These technologies allow you to make credible commitments to limit your own freedom. You can promise to run only certain software to handle certain data, and failure to honor your promise can be detected.
It should be clear that, as with contract, marriage, and other areas where we make binding commitments, as long as these kinds of promises are voluntary, allowing them actually enhances freedom. Yet the FSf doesn't see it that way. They are so angry and upset at the notion that people may make promises only to run certain code that they are doing all they can to make such promises impossible to make credibly.
I can understand the concerns that these technologies could be made mandatory. That would obviously be an unacceptable infringement on freedom. But we don't eliminate marriage just because some people are unfairly forced into marriage in certain cultures. We don't eliminate contract just because some are coercive. We fight the unjust arrangements while recognizing the value of a system which allows people to make binding commitments.
The same approach should be applied to Trusted Computing. We should support voluntary adoption of the technology, while vigorously opposing efforts to make it mandatory.
Unfortunately I don't see much prospect of the FSF changing its position on this issue; Stallman is not notoriously amenable to reasonable persuasion. But I hope the larger community can start to look at these matters with open eyes, and not feel obligated to follow the FSF in lockstep.