The CPU microcode example from the article is particularly nonsensical. The author seems to be arguing that CPUs without loadable microcode are more free than CPUs with loadable microcode. However, the non-loadable CPU is incapable of being modified or fixed, whereas the loadable CPU's microcode format has the potential to be reverse engineered, at the very least.
This seems to be a prevalent mindset among free software advocates; the OpenMoko project had a similar stance with firmware for a radio: http://lwn.net/Articles/460654/
Aside from all the philosophical debate, and though it's a promising start, the whole thing sounds 10 years or more behind current PC technology in terms of performance; I can't imagine actually using one of these as a daily driver.
In any case, the phone network firmware in an Android
device is not equivalent to a circuit, because the
hardware allows installation of new versions and this
is actually done. Since it is proprietary firmware, in
practice only the manufacturer can make new versions
– users can't.
Putting these points together, we can tolerate non-free
phone network firmware provided new versions of it won't
be loaded, it can't take control of the main computer,
and it can only communicate when and as the free operating
system chooses to let it communicate. In other words, it
has to be equivalent to circuitry, and that circuitry must
not be malicious.
Some things are better left unchangeable if the alternative is that somebody besides the owner is in charge of them.
For example, suppose you had the choice between an old-fashioned mercury thermostat for your house, or a fancy programmable Honeywell thermostat that required an overpriced Honeywell technician to come out and make changes, as long as those changes were approved by the Honeywell corporation?
I don't know about you, but regardless of the benefits of the new programmable thermostat, I'm not renting control of my HVAC system from the Honeywell corporation. I will be the one in charge of my home, even if that means using less flexible or out of date technology. Some people feel the same about their digital home as well.
I'm on Vim and Screen, and compiling. More than anything I notice a fast storage device. Plug in an SSD and that's solved.
Lack of 3D acceleration is a pain if you use something that requires it.
I do some scientific computing with OpenCL, which I have a machine dedicated to. Other than that, it would be okay for me. If only the screen resolution was good, which doesn't seem to be the case. But it's still acceptable for some uses.
Only the abysmal battery life, noisy fan and poor screen seem a very strong sacrifice over what I use in one of my laptops (it does have decent 3D acceleration but I barely ever use it). As GPU acceleration gets more prevalent in general computing this is going to be a show-stopper too...
If only someone came with a fully FOSS system-on-a-chip at the level of the newer beagleboards, I'd be willing to pay a 100% premium, easily.
Other than GNU/Linux  Lemotes can also run OpenBSD: http://www.openbsd.org/loongson.html.
Sadly, I was unable to find out which exact model of the Lemote Yeeloong RMS currently uses. His website  certainly doesn't tell us and neither do the interviews.
 I feel that the "GNU" is mandatory here.
EDIT: Unfortunately it seems like they are no longer selling lemotes at alibaba. I guess I'm glad I got mine when I did.