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Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Meaningful: Choose Two



Andrew Wilcox wrote:
> If I decide to change the name of my library, perhaps I could release
> a version of the library under the new name and a version under the
> old name which forwards imports to the new library name: [...]

Your post, and Tom Lord's note on the politics of naming, reminded me of
an excellent essay introducing "Zooko's Triangle" [1], laying out the
tradeoffs between decentralization, strong identity, and
human-meaningful naming. (Another short essay vaguely on topic is [4].)

Petnames [2], and in particular some kinds of proposed UI for them [3],
look a bit like the forwarding-of-names mentioned above. Tom Lord's
proposal of using lexical scope to introduce petnames is a very
interesting idea!

Another interesting, but less Schemely, approach to naming is taken by
the experimental language L [5] and its separation of symbols from their
spellings [6].

Cheers,
  Tony

[1] http://www.zooko.com/distnames.html
[2] http://www.skyhunter.com/marcs/petnames/IntroPetNames.html
[3] http://ciphergoth.livejournal.com/110893.html
[4] http://shirky.com/writings/domain_names.html
[5] http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tony/L/
[6] http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tony/L/#Protocols%20and%20Default%20Behavior