From: marcs <>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 14:04:48 -0700
Subject: [e-lang] Naming Capability Systems

A group of us met, face to face, in real time, with our physical presences 
actually co-located. We discussed both the naming issue and EIO API design.  
Markm will cover the EIO API design in separate email.

The group consisted of  

Norm Hardy
Mark Miller 
Chip Morningstar
Marc Stiegler
E-Dean Tribble

with a brief appearance by Eric Drexler. 

The upshot of a very long conversation is as follows: 

There is a real risk that "lambda" as an adjective would cause Silicon Valley 
VCs to label it a "science project". This is fatal in the VC community.  Since 
the VC community is one of the important communities, at least for some of us 
:-), we came up with the follow alternative: tribble

"object capability system". 

Meanwhile, "ambient capability system" can be interpreted in different 
confused ways.  Therefore, we came up with the following alternative: 

"ambient-authority capability system". tribble  

This is too long to be used much, but it is ok for the thing you are going to 
criticize to have an excessively long name.  If one really needs to use the 
name repeatedly, one can shorten it once it has been introduced. 

I was reasonably happy with these terms myself, and was ecstatic to get a 
consensus in a room full of people who generally cannot agree on which 
direction the sun is traveling :-) I am still pretty happy, but I have been 
given pause by the following quote from one of Jonathan's recent posts:

>I agree with all of your points, and I have suggested several times to
>MarkM that he, I, and perhaps Jonathan Rees (and yourself, if you like)
>should jointly author a definitive paper on lambda capabilities. One

Jonathan, who has opposed all this naming distinction stuff, used the "lambda 
capability" term, and it was so natural,  MarkM didn't even notice he had done 
so until I pointed it out. So if Jonathan finds "object" as a replacement for 
"lambda" acceptable, I return to a state of ecstacy. But if Jonathan is now 
willing to sign up for "lambda" but not "object", then I have to think hard 
about my own stance, since I believe there is considerable merit in getting 
Jonathan on board.


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