The Latin phrase 'cui bono' renders as, "who profits?" It's a good maxim to use in any situation. Who profits from multiple grids, the expansion of the grid technology, the diversity of grids?
We do of course. That is, the 'we' who identify not with some brand-name, some virtual equivalent of Abercrombie & Fitch snobbishness, Microsoft/Apple fanboi fever, Novell 'we're going to rule networking so get with us or die' myopia... in short, people with open minds and the intelligence to think outside the proscribed or trendy view towards the future of the entire network.
I remember when Novell and Token Ring ruled networking, despite awkward structures, deadly custom partitions which, if disturbed, would lock you out of your data and applications and cause untold misery and loss. I remember having to call the High Priests of IBM, doing everything short of sacrificing two cows and a flock of doves to petition for a moment of their mighty time to this unworthy enduser. Same story with Cobol, Fortran and proprietary transmission protocols and disk schemes. I remember being told that TCP/IP was a fringe technology, not really 'ready for business' and that I was wasting my time with this new protocol...
And what was the result? The future blew those technologies and stances away and the unemployment lines were full of those fully-invested in the entrenched wisdom of the past.
Lucky for me that I was on the net so early, in contact with people mostly older and wiser than me, who gave me a thorough grounding not only in the tech prevalent at the time, but in thinking about the future. The most valuable tech lesson I picked up from these people and the one which has continually served me well is that being invested in one single approach, technology or platform is not only foolish but short-sighted and dangerous.
The same principle applies in the arts. I remember the snobbishness that accompanied electronic music's debut into mainstream music; the nose-turning and sniffing against synthesizers and digital recording. Sure, there are good and artistic reasons to use real saxaphone players or analog tape machines even now; the point is that you use the best tool for the job, for what you wish to accomplish, and having a variety of tools at your disposal gives you more options.
The current tussling over "who's grid is da best grid" is a good example of clannish and isolationist thinking which will only hurt those invested in it. If life teaches you anything, it is to be flexible to changing circumstances, to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, to know when an Oblique Strategy or lateral thinking is called for in a situation.
The internet itself was designed to be flexible, to have multiple routes and multiple access points, to be resilient and changing in response to structural problems or obstructions. "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" is very applicable here; censorship of ideas and a willingness to embrace or at least explore new ways and means can be considered damaging to your own thinking, forcing you into an intellectual and stagnant backwater while the future merrily rolls onward, leaving you behind to play with your Token Ring and curse your Novell partition for locking you out of your data.
The work being done by Pathfinder, soror, Wizard Gynoid and others is a laudible example of forward-thinking, net-centric investigation into the burgeoning technology of the grid and hypertransport. The political (because let's face it, that's what it is) wrangling over "why you should go with X grid and not the others" is provincial and indicates an investment in some ideological approach, stance or philosophy that is entrenched and backward-looking.
I'm not urging anyone to commit to a choice of grids; some grids serve an individual or organization's needs better than others, just as some libraries excel in technical reference sections while others concentrate on English Literature or architecture. The point is, we all benefit from the multiplicity of libraries and approaches. We all benefit from being able to access multiple sources and options in almost everything we involve ourselves in in life.
I am part of a community - the network. I do not care if you use Windows, Mac or Linux to get there (although I do have my own preferences). Saying "I will only talk on the net to people using Linux" would be stupid, yes? Because the method of achieving online presence is an irrelevant issue to your presence on the net and your ability to be part of a community. I don't care if your website is hosted by GoDaddy, Yahoo, private host or a university. I don't care if you have an incredibly-detailed technical blog or an enthusiastic independent music site; it's irrelevant to me that you may spend your time chatting away on IRC or building virtual coliseums. What is important to me is that you are present; you are part of the community of the internet. Everything else, all the other issues, are background to this simple awareness of what I am involved and invested in.
So, who profits from the expansion of the grid; the multiplicity of the worlds, the explosion of boutique and specialized grids and the beginnings of the hypertech transport tech that has the importance today that the birth of HTML did in 1990? You do. I do. We all do.
I urge people to remember what they are involved in and what they invest a large amount of time in - a community. Try to see the bigger picture. Try to think of yourself as a netizen first, a gridnaut second and after that, you can be as partisan as you like about which
"To explore strange new worlds... to seek out new grids and new civilizations... to boldly go where no avatar has gone before..." This is the continuing mission of the Starship Miso, although it's been longer than 5 years ^_^ I hope it will continue for the rest of my life, and I hope it will for you too.