I apologise in advance for this weeks post. I'm afraid that the R+D part of the NGS blog never misses an opportunity for a really lame joke and isn't going to change its ways now.
There are many variants on this one...
An unfortunate traveller took the wrong turn and found himself one of those parts of the world where road-signs - and, indeed, roads - are regarded as a modern fad which will never catch on.
After many hours of driving, he finally saw another person, a genuine Local - possibly leaning over a farm gate and chewing a piece of corn - and asked the way back to the big city. Let's say, for this version, that city was London....
`London?', the Local said, raising an eyebrow.
The Traveller nodded.
`London, you say?'
The Traveller nodded again.
`Well,' continued the Local, scratching his chin, `well.... if I were going to London.... I wouldn't start from here.'
Which takes us nicely to the Unified Middleware Development (UMD) Roadmap discussed in a presentation to an NGS Surgery meeting on 16 March.
It is fair to say that - if they had the choice - the UMD developers at the European Middleware Institute wouldn't start from here either.
They have been given the task of unifying four distinct families of grid software - ARC, gLite, UNICORE and dCache - and making the finished product work with other packages such as Globus.
The roadmap is a high level overview: it doesn't go into detail and describes the components and their dependencies using what seem to be UML Deployment Diagrams.
Yet behind the high level plans - there is concrete and practical work being done. There are regular automated builds being performed using CERN's ETICS system and work is underway on the first proper release - dubbed EMI-1.
The long term aim is for the work of the EMI to be adopted and deployed by the European Grid Initiative.
And - maybe - one of these days we will stop talking about the Middleware and start talking about what we can do with it.