From: marcs <>
Replying To: Tyler Close <>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 10:52:08 -0700
Subject: Re: [e-lang] Naming Capability Systems

On Sunday 08 December 2002 06:11 pm, Tyler Close wrote:
> > 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?

This is not unlike the problem the quantum mechanics folks had with physics.  
Here is a not entirely ridiculous parallel (though I will 
confess, I am introducing the physics parallel partly as an attempt at 

Most physicists (computer security geeks) believe that universes  (capability 
secure systems) have a certain set of properties, such as itty bitty discrete 
particles (ambient authority). 

Now, we have learned that this model of the behavior of universes (capability 
systems) is false.  No actual universe (capability system) has ever been 
implemented with discrete particles (ambient authority). But the discrete 
particle (ambient authority) model of universes (capability systems) is, for 
some purposes, a useful simplification. Therefore, we propose calling this 
model "Newtonian physics" (ambient authority capability systems). You can, 
under certain circumstances, continue to use this model even though we know 
it is wrong. But if you are going to do any serious work, like building a 
fusion power plant (saving the world from cyberterror and cyberwar), you 
better use real quantum physics (object capability systems).

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