The W3C is a hard-working, well-meaning group of individuals who are working hard to shepherd the future of Mankind’s Greatest Invention, and balance the (conflicting) needs and desires of their various members (who have each paid for the privilege of having their voice heard), as well as the needs and desires of the world at large. I am very sure they are doing the best they can to build consensus and negotiate compromises, to achieve an excellent outcome without letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I suspect Michael Smith sees potential FSF-guided protestors as another constituency whose views need to be stirred into the pot, and who would be a lot less frustrated if they understood the complexity of the balancing act the W3C is performing.
The thing is, the FSF is all about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The FSF’s fundamental purpose is to replace the existing software industry, not by conquest or subversion, but by building a new one from scratch, and making it so great that the old one will atrophy to nothing. The FSF and its supporters do not care how delicately balanced the W3C’s compromises are, they are quite happy for organisations that want to use or sell DRM technology to die in a fire, no matter how economically or socially important they may be. The FSF is not telling its supporters to buy W3C staff a coffee and have a chat, for the same reason paramedics do not politely ask heart-attack victims’s hearts to resume beating: because more dramatic intervention is required.
I suspect that, eventually, the FSF will have their way. The case against DRM is fundamentally “it’s more efficient to follow the laws of the universe than to make everybody pretend the opposite”; while Netflix and Hulu are pretty great benefits, the drawbacks include a performance and complexity tax at every layer of the system, from video players to the operating system, to video cards and even monitors. As all those things get more complex and error-prone, eventually we’ll reach the point where the benefit of Netflix working is outweighed by the downside of nothing else working, and then some young startup is going to invent a computer that devotes 100% of its resources to letting you do things, instead of 90% of its resources to preventing you from doing things, and the FSF will be vindicated.
I wish there was a way to curtail that fifty-to-a-hundred years of cultural stagnancy before we can be a healthy, artistic society again. Protesting DRM in HTML might not be a step away from that future, but not protesting is definitely a step toward it.
Here is rms explaining why the FSF does not compromise on certain things: