From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <>
Replying To: Dean Tribble <>
Date: 11 Dec 2002 10:12:20 -0500
Subject: Re: [e-lang] Naming Capability Systems

Dean makes good points.  His note prompts me to ask an orthogonal term
question -- one where we invented a term and could perhaps have done

When we say "ambient authority", I think we really mean "undesignated
authority".  That is, an application in a system with ambient authority
does not specifically designate the source of its authority with each
operation that it performs.

I like the term "ambient authority" because non-experts will immediately
have a useful intuition when they hear it.  The term "undesignated
authority" is somehow more precise.

And having written the above two paragraphs, I now think we should stick
with "ambient authority",  but when we introduce the term in papers we
should make sure to say something like:

"... MumbleSoft is an "ambient authority" system.  Operations requiring
privilege do not explicitly designate the authority that permits that
operation." frantz

e-lang mailing list