Do you see fragmentation in the Linux distribution market to be a good, bad, or neutral thing? Do you think that themedia frenzy over Linux tends to harm other worthy OS projects like the BSDs and BeOS? Do you think that big business's entry into the Linux market will change the gift-culture aspects of Linux, or will the businesses in question adapt to Linux? Or both? What do you think is in store for humanity in terms of relations between governments, businesses, and individuals? Do you think that we should actively pursue colonization of other planets in our star system at this time, and if not, then when?
You'll feel better if you take the long view.
Your questions all tie together and fit the theme of ask Abe well. One part traveling with peers in Mexico plus two parts juvenile conflict and one part media distortion equals The Bad Guy? I digress, yet according to MTV it does. But the media is like a big baby with an infant's attention deficit disorder - it focuses and probably tries to destroy one thing at a time; soon enough it moves on. The role of big business is less predictable but I think in the end likely to prove less damaging. For one thing, big business isn't as big as it once was; there's lots of money to throw around, sure, but success (a la Silicon Valley housing prices) ultimately leads to failure. Yin to yang.
So right now, maybe the earliest contributors to Linux are thinking about cashing inwives and kids and mortgages can do that to you. But behind them are more young coders who will keep the phenomenon of widely-shared free OS alive. That old joke about Microsoft and the Catholic church isn't really all that funny, but Martin Luther came along. And then when the Lutheran church got fat and dull with official state sponsorship, new generations advocating a kinder, simpler (and less expensive) church came along. Same with operating software, only in a time frame of months, not centuries. The process of creative destruction is inevitable.
True also for our human self-organization. After a few hundred years, we're in a period of decline for the nation-state. Borders are permeable (or fundamentally useless) in the computer age. I don't know if your question comes from Peoria or Paris and it doesn't matter. There's still fear and a great respect for unimportant divisions among humanity, but there are many hopeful signs that that is changing. Even in a forum like this we tend to challenge each other's ideas without reference to gender, race or religion. That's nice; that's a good model for the development of the world.
Eventually government, business and the individual will not be seen as antagonistic elements but as cooperative strings on the violin of human culture. And when we have progressed as musicians, then we will be free, ready and eager to explore and colonize space.
(He had many questions; this is just one of them) ...you're a person who had a rough childhood who happens to be good at computers. What are your thoughts on making computers and the Internet accessible to the financially challenged? What can people do to make sure that no one misses out on the computer age, including those who are poor and/or homeless?
Your overall question is a larger issue that deserves more time than I've been given here. I feel strongly about making computers and the Internet a force for promoting greater income equality and educating everybody to their greatest potential, but strategies for doing that are complex.
One important thing is to make a difference in your own communities, and right now I'm a college student. The Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC) have an annual budget of approx $100,000. Through involvement with the student senate, I've learned that 4000 of those precious dollars had been partitioned off for upgrades of M$ office for the free ASCC computer lab. I'm going to have to volunteer my own time for setup, and I will likely need to 'convert' an IS administrator or two in the process, but I can guarantee you that while I'm