You are making the claim that "freedom is important". And you are right, it is important. But this project does not promote freedom. I mean, those binary blobs are still out there. Simply removing them from the kernel does not suddenly enable developers to hack away at that code. It's still closed. Only thing this project does, is to give us a kernel that is not as functional as the vanilla-kernel. It does not in any shape or form increase the users or developers freedom.
Yes, freedom is important. But freedom that people are unable to take advantage of is next to useless. I might have the freedom to move to Mars. But since I'm unable to do so, that freedom is meaningless to me.
Free software is very important to coders, and that in return gives the users better software as well. But like I said, this project does not help coders write better software, since code that was previously closed is not being made free.
"On to software. Even if you never even realize that an improvement to a piece of software could make your computer (think cell phone, portable media player, media recorder, watch, notebook, desktop, whatever) work better for you, odds are that others will, and if they have the freedom to do it and share it with others, odds are that the benefits will percolate to you as well."
Great! And how does this project enable that? Answer: it doesn't. That unhackable code is still unhackable code. Simply removing it from the kernel accomplishes nothing.
"So, you see, the I'm not a programmer argument is fatally flawed"
It isn't. Most people are not programmers. And second, this project does nothing to help programmers write better code.
"Besides the point that you identified yourself, it promotes and endorses the horrible idea that it's normal and acceptable to give up control over certain parts of your computer, it gets people used to that."
And this is why Linux on the desktop has failed. Fact is that people want a computer that works. If you asked them if they would prefer a computer that ran 100% free software but had lots of features that did not work, as opposed to having a fully functional computer that ran proprietary software, they would pick the latter. That is a fact. Most people simply do not care about the freedom of the software, they just want software that WORKS. Most people are in no position to take advantage of that freedom, and they rightly do not care. Why should they concern themselves with things that they have no use of?
And what's more important is that we have the opportunity to give users a computer and software that is 99% free software, and it would be fully functional. But that is not acceptable to FSF-hardliners, who would rather have 100% free software but less functionality. End result is that people use Windows or MacOS instead. Instead of running 99% free software, they end up running 99% proprietary software. How does that benefit Free Software?
"See how Linux-libre helps you, your gradma and everyone else, by exposing the problem, helping people realize they're losing their freedom, and inviting people to vote with their wallets for hardware manufacturers to respect their customers?"
Most people have not lost anything. And those who have lost (programmers) do not benefit from this project at all, since the code that was unhackable is still unhackable.
Linux-libre does not help my grandma at all. All it would cause it for her to call me and ask "why doesn't my webcam work?". I could tell her all about free software and how she's better off when proprietary software is removed from her computer. At that point she would ask me "so you are saying that my webcam will not work in Linux? Could you come over and install Windows instead? It worked there just fine". The benefits free software gives are of no use to her, she doesn't care about them.
And I admit: my main computer is a Mac, and I have an iPod. Why? Because I felt they were superior to their alternatives. By using a Mac I'm supposedly "giving up my freedoms". But I honestly don't see that. Only thing I see is that I finally have a computer with an UI that is easy, powerful and good-looking. I finally have a computer that requires no hand-holding from me and where everything just works. Am I being stupid for choosing practicality over ideology? I mean, the closedness of the Mac has not harmed me in any shape or form. Only thing I have seen is that I get more enjoyment from my computer and my productivity went up. Is it stupid of me to choose those immediate and tangible benefits over benefits that give me n benefit at all?
I bet you are now about to make some comparison about painting houses or something. But again: I'm no programmer, so freedom of Linux or closedness of MacOS does not harm me.