Ah, my post never got in...damn!
Devildog, no you're right about the roots, no matter where it is. That's because it's like grass (as we've already stated it technically is grass) and has a fairly shallow but broad root system. I'll agree about the splinters being a bitch, too.
Bamboo isn't particularly easy to work worth, but it's not that hard either. You can deal with splitting by using hand tools and learning how to split it to your advantage. There are a couple of good books on the process.
As for using bamboo for cutting boards, end grain is definitely the best, and I think it looks the most interesting too, but you can lay up some laminations of strips and then make a checkerboard with the orthoganal grain patterns to reduce the threading/hairing of the the board as you cut on it. It won't be quite as durable as an endgrain board would be but it will last a long time.
Richel, bamboo may be new to the west but it's been used in Asia for several thousand years for every aspect of building. Trusses, floors, posts, walls, roofs, you name it. It wears plenty well (I've personally lived in houses with 20+ year old bamboo floors that looked brand new) and is easily replaced for much less cost when it does wear out. It also feels better and is quieter than hardwood when you walk on it. It has more give so it is less jarring; it's like the difference between walking on a lawn or a concrete sidewalk only not as drastic.
For those that think that bamboo isn't strong enough, I'll tell you I've got plenty of pictures of and have walked on bamboo scaffolds that are over 30 stories tall (I didn't go up that high) and they're plenty stable and very strong. I'll also tell you that for the same diameter a bamboo "rod" is stronger than a 10oz carbon fiber tube. Bamboo has incredible load strength, but it does splinter easily. The splintering is really only a problem while you're building or if what your building has to deal with being hit by sharp edges all the time.
Bamboo certainly isn't the perfect building material, but it can be quite beautiful, and it's easily replenishable. I've built boats, fountains, chairs, tables, windchimes, and plenty of other things from it quite well. If you're interested in trying it out, I highly recommend it. It also is great as a decorative accent, if not the primary species.