GNU was an interesting philosophy when it was started, but it's not as if it was the only open source ideology or that other open source movements wouldn't have taken hold.
I really don't think it would have.
I think without both GPL, and GNU (especially Readline and GCC), programmers would still be trading pirate copies of compilers from Borland, Microsoft, and Watcom the way people pirate Photoshop today.
MySQL is only GPL because Monty wanted to use Readline initially.
Objective C compilers were only GPL because RMS refused a request from Jobs to let NeXT make a proprietary fork.
To see what people were doing with "open source ideology", look at how well the BSD / MIT licenses served X11, in the pre-Linux era. Every vendor shipped horribly incompatible versions of things.
Look at how people treat OpenSSH. How many people accept money for shipping it, vs. how many people sending money upstream, or patches.
Yes, he sure as hell could use a spin doctor to phrase his statements in a more palatable way. But his position is key, and without it, we'd still be in the "bad old days".