So, I thought that maybe I was out of touch with MS pricing, since I felt that there was a significant difference in costs between the 2 approaches. I may be looking at the wrong places (first place I looked was DIYtune), but nothing came in for under $300. That may be in the same price range to many, but to me there is a significant difference between $300-$600 and my target of $50-$100. (If I wanted to go a single-chip solution for the SPFI community, it could be done for less than $20.)
I understand that many feel that the MS community would better suit them, and that is fine, but for many years I have been hearing about this person or that person planning on building an MS unit; I have thought of doing it myself. But in all of these years, I have personally known only one person who actually did it, and maybe 2 or 3 more that say that they have. There seems to be a lot of talk but not much success. For me, the thought of paying $250 (at the time) for a box of electronics components, still having to sort out wiring, and not having any base maps was kind of off-putting. And, back then, the capabilities were whatever the designer said that they were, so tough luck if you wanted something different... like the ability to compensate for altitude changes without having to turn off your engine and restart it.
I am sure that MS units have improved, and offer more flexibility. But the price is still rather high for spend-thrift owners of 30-year old econoboxes.
If you want to look at a community supporting itself, look at robotics. Or perhaps better, the robotics people that are making their own 3D printers... printers that can print many of the "soft" parts needed to make more 3D printers. The people that have successfully built their own 3D printers is probably 10 times greater than those who have built or bought MS units.
The point? Proprietary process control, like MS, will always be a niche market, and it is likely to become a smaller niche market once the tech-savvy kids see how easy it is to take their robotics-community hardware and software wiki and make their own process control units. And, when they are not driving their vehicles, they can unplug the ECU-specifics from the MCU and use it to run robotics races, or print something they need, or take it hiking as a GPS/radio/locator-beacon.
MS is fine. I hope it works out well for you.
Too me, MS was a lot like Apple: Tightly controlled, overly expensive appliance, losing market share as the wild-wild-West PC market became dominant.
For me, if this doesn't play out well, I can still make a CNC mill, and then a 3D printer.
Cheers to all, regardless of their view of my views!