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My conclusion for SRFI-84 Universal Identifiers



Michael Sperber asked me what my intentions were with respect to
SRFI-84 Universal Identifiers.

I believe (at least) two of the criticisms of the current draft of
SRFI 84 raised on the email list are fundamentally correct:

* Categorizing libraries (for example, "math", "parsing", "web", etc.)
should be done outside of a system for creating unique, universal
identifiers for libraries, because you might want to reorganize your
library categories at some point, or support several different ways of
categorizing libraries.

* Basing library identifiers on globally assigned identifiers (such as
domain names or email addresses) is problematic, because you may stop
using or lose control of your domain name or email address.  (And it
just moves the responsibility for getting you a unique identifier on
to some already existing system such as the domain name system).

The "petname" approach strikes me as potentially brilliant, promising
to remove an entire class of problems around naming and identifies,
just as, by analogy, garbage collection removed an entire class of
problems around dangling pointers and reclaiming unused memory.

However, I personally have neither the time, skill, or expertise to
attempt to create a petname system for naming and identifying
libraries.

Thus, in conclusion, I have nothing to add!  I can neither recommend
the current draft of "Universal Identifiers" (given the problems
revealed through discussion on the email list), nor attempt to
implement a better solution myself.

I thank everyone who contributed to the discussion.  I found the
comments and suggestions offered by you on the email list to be
insightful and inspiring.

The question of how to name and identify libraries will only loom
larger as the number of libraries written by programmers increases at
a faster rate.  If you (or someone you know) is looking for a problem
to solve to contribute to the state of the art in computing, consider
reading the email discussion for the useful ideas published there.

Thank you,

Andrew Wilcox