From: Tyler Close <>
Replying To: marcs <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 21:11:13 -0400
Subject: Re: [e-lang] Naming Capability Systems

On Sunday 08 December 2002 18:38, marcs wrote:
> > The main point of this email will be to convince people to slow
> > down and carefully consider their reasoning. Marc Stiegler has
> > presented the list with a 4 day deadline for renaming a field with
> > a 36 year history. He is seeking to do this through rough
> > consensus on a mailing list. This is clearly impetuous.
> I would agree that it was impetuous if I thought I was renaming the field
> in 4 days. There are a couple of ways in which this is not true. First, I
> don't view it as "renaming the field". I view it as drawing a crucial
> distinction inside the field, a crucial distinction that has been needed
> ever since ambient authority capabilities succeeded in corrupting the
> majority of the audience.

Maybe it would help me undertand this if I could get a point of
reference.   Is there a list of systems that you would classify as
"ambient authority capability", where the authors claimed to be
implementing "capability"? shap

I asked Jonathan this same question in different wording a few
days ago.  At that point it was decided that there are none worth
considering. If that is still the case, then there is no
"corruption" and you are not making a distinction, you are
renaming. shap

I just keep picturing in my head a conversation between someone
using your new terminology and someone who is only familiar with 
the established terminology. It ends up in a "Who's on first" mess
as the two try to establish that every "capability" system should
be called "object capability" so as not to be confused with the
non-existent "ambient capability". The "object capability" guy has
a tough time convincing the "capability" guy that everything he
thought he knew about "capability" systems no longer applies
because they are now called "object capability" systems.

Ken hasn't said anything yet,  but I assume he might take issue
with the idea that it is necessary to be "object" in order to be
"capability". He's got a capability system that is not object. I
can imagine a lot of other capability systems that are not object.

> Secondly, just because I start using a bit of jargon (oh no! more jargon!
> :-) in my marketing pitches does not by itself constitute a successful
> introduction of a naming convention, whether it is "renaming the field" or
> "drawing a distinction". As markm has observed to me, the point at which we
> are making a real commitment is the day when we start revising our web
> sites to introduce the distinction. Note that I haven't said I was going to
> revise even my web site yet :-) I view what I am about to do as "test
> marketing".

I am glad to hear that this is just "test marketing". I am much
happier with this.  It appeared to me that you we're trying to
build a consensus for renaming the field. David's "strategy"
email, and your talk about getting different people on board,
definitely seemed oriented towards renaming the field.

Do you have any evidence that a group has written you off because
they thought capabilities are the same as ACLs? daw 

> > Changing names makes it much more difficult to achieve this
> > "Ah-hah".
> The claim that introducing a distinguishing adjective makes it more
> difficult to achieve the "Ah-hah" is as untested as my hope that
> introducing the distinguishing adjective will assist in inspiring people to
> at least ask the question, "what is different?"

How can I explain that Lampson simply misunderstood the term
"capability" if you go and define his use to be correct? daw marcs 

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