Property rights are useful when organizing economic activity because people respond to incentives. Efficiency is much more important than "freedom" or "openness". It is like computational efficiency: if you don't know what it exactly means (basically it means everyone gets more of what they want), then just listen to the experts. When Donald Knuth talks about algorithms, I shut up. The same thing with economic efficiency.
I've watched "gaming go downhill" and it has nothing to do with DRM. There're plenty of good games out there that are completely free. It has do with the fact the games are sold to a lot of people, and most people are there for quick fun and not something that took time and practice to be able to perform (like sports). Is this progression? Well its not necessarily fun for the hardcore gamers as they won't find any interesting games to play on (like me), but because of this more people can enjoy gaming. Same happened with music as art (classical) music's golden age ended, and pop / folk music became popular. Much of the commercial pop music does not (arguably) have the "depth" compared to art music but you cannot force people to listen to music they don't want or understand. Take Starcraft:BW for example, its arguably the deepest game out there, at least in RTS market. Maybe in 10-20 years it will be gone and replace by some simple game, and SC1:BW will be left as a practice of only handful of people. Would this be progression? I don't know, but the answer isn't simple. There'll be lots of gamers (with RL priorities) who don't want to spend a week just to play an enjoyable game, and I don't think we have should force them either.
The good thing about closed applications is that usually the market for applications is better, and integration is better and it gets usually the "work done" better. On the downside customizing can be difficult if not impossible. The good thing about open applications is that they are much more customizable, are generally cheaper, and work for all kinds of users, but can be expensive to maintain and get compatible. Its exactly like the question of how much there should be standards in *nix. Probably most agree POSIX was a step forward, but I think we could go further (lots of distributions do same things differently without achieving anything). Anyone who has tried to make inter-distributional applications for Linux knows that its a mess. I probably don't need to post the legendary ALSA jungle here. Generally speaking there's not a silver bullet here, different paradigms work for different people and organizations. You should be wary of people who claim otherwise. I posted a bunch of random ramblings for ideas to improve Linux here if anyone cares: http://bit.ly/oIxhBj
People who are not programmers or power users see software as as a tool, and what matters is how the tool works not the technical details. Nobody cares how their screwdrivers are done, but how it performs the tasks it is supposed to do. Maybe the screwdriver engineers wet their pants over different details of implementation, but at the end of the day we want a tools that work, not excuses.
This OSS ideology, which I think is rampant within OSS communities, is as bad as any other. It clouds the person's judgement with easy answers and prevent objective scientific (in this case; economic) analysis of the issue at hand. I've had it when I was younger, the sooner one gets rid of it, the better. Nobody likes DIY climate science either (ok some do, but I've nothing to say to them). To make sure you don't misunderstand me, I think open-source per se is great, just trying to force open-source everywhere is something that is not a question of personal opinion, but a question of how do we solve the coordination problems involved; to make sure everyone wins in the end. These are complicated questions, and for that we turn into experts, who usually need knowledge of different branches of science (mathematics, computer science, economics). The same goes for the amount of IPR we need in the world, and simple appeals to liberty attract those who don't understand the complexity of the problem (I do not claim I do, I just understand enough not to have a strong opinion about it).
Richard Stallman sounds like a famous chief who says all chiefs should reveal their recipes or be damned in hell. Maybe, but likely no. The question of what kind of institutions and rules we need to get best meat on table with the lowest cost possible is not a question of cooking skills but a question of efficiency, and while master chiefs can definitely give some local knowledge, its not their area of expertise, at least there're plenty of other professions involved.
And as a personal side note I think Steve Jobs was a great inventor and an entrepreneur. I'm a power user and I use his products daily. I do miss his innovation and products, perhaps even more than say Linux. At least right now I'm very satisfied with Apple products, and I'm pretty sure some of that merit is because of the closed nature of Apple products. In fact one of the reasons I've headaches with Linux is because of too much possibilities for customization and lack of standards.