I read a short essay last week by Richard Stallman titled ‘Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software‘, in the essay he talks about how he sees referring to free software as ‘open source’ isn’t correct because of how the meaning of the term has changed paths from the meaning of ‘free software’ into something that misrepresents what free software stands for. By increased usage of ‘open source’ and reduced usage of the term ‘free software’, it appears that from his point of view users are becoming primarily concerned with only the benefits of the development model that goes into making free software and that a barrier is being created preventing users of free software from being aware of the issues of freedom that are involved with software that were the catalyst of the free software movement.
I can agree that in the current state of things with Linux growing quickly and gaining many new users, there is at the same time the possibility for the majority of these users to not be aware of the issues of freedom. They are getting free systems, and are moving into a much better world than one of proprietary software yet they are not entirely free and even if the open source development model is superior, the issue of freedom hasn’t gone away. These new users are for the most part still marginally kept back from a completely free system, and my issue with that is I don’t think they are aware of that fact or understand it as best they should.