We speak of information technology in architectural terms. Perhaps we should reconsider the metaphors. Perhaps we would find more clarity in agriculture. For instance: the consequences of monoculture.
Hell, that metaphor works for almost anything in society. Quite apt, IOZ.
Count Zero crossed my mind as I read the NYT story. Add the government protection of monoculture through patents and tariffs and government promotion through direct subsidies and purchases and you have a perfect environment for collapse of the technology. It's as perfect as analogies get.
Ooh, here's another way to think of it:Every town (cell) should have its own internet (DNA), with communication between cells heavily regulated by deep packet inspection and/or passport-like authentication (antibodies).Of course overall regulation (to ensure the protections are consistent and functioning) would need to be done by a powerful central authority (brain).Get it? Government = brain! I'm going to send this to Ted Kennedy's office, he'll love it.
This idea has been a round for a while. It's particularly popular among the Free Software crowd.
For what it is worth, people who work in IT do talk about monocultures, and for exactly the reason you highlight. A lot of proposals for medium-large scale installations I've been involved with attempt to balance the cost issues of system-heterogeneity with the advantages of noncontagion, be that in the form of attacks or bugs. But cynics think we only do that to seem smart and/or make more money.
Cynics frequently have their belief system validated. Optimists frequently have to amend their belief system.
For software systems, pretty much any metaphor is better than "architecture" or "engineering". Even the old-timers have realized it at this point.
You mean I'm going to have to change my job title from "Senior Software Engineer" to "Senior Software Wrangler" or somesuch?
Round 'em up, move 'em out, Rowdy.
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