[E-Lang] Other E News: Name Space Speculation
Mark S. Miller
Fri, 19 Jan 2001 19:25:31 -0800
Many of us on this list share the sense that we are brewing an immanent
revolution in distributed secure computing via capabilities. In this kind
of revolution, there would be a growing number of independent efforts doing
separate but related things. to create a sense that something important is
happening, it helps if it's apparent that these efforts are related.
These days, how an effort labels itself (no matter whether it's a company,
an individual, or a non-profit) depends on what domain name it can get. To
encourage these efforts to be perceived in aggregate as a revolution, it
would be great if they could have related names, if their proprietors so
choose. Previous name rush fads on the web show common prefix to be a good
Towards this end, I've been quitely acquiring capability-relevant domain
names, most of which begin with "cap". These can be found at
http://www.caplet.com/domains.html . If you want one of these as the domain
for your own capability-oriented activities, let me know. We'll see what we
can work out.
There are two capability oriented efforts that I expect will use names from
this set, but I'll refrain from saying anything further until they make
their own announcement.
As another way to make visible a growing set of related activities, I've
also started the Capability Security WebRing
http://nav.webring.yahoo.com/hub?ring=capabilitysecuri&id=8&hub , using the
yahoo WebRing hosting site, which is great for the price ;). Be sure to
The Trademark System of First Resort
I've realized that the domain name system, specifically the *.com space,
should be treated as the trademark system of first resort, while the legal
trademark system remains the system of last resort. What do I mean by
"first resort"? When I grab, for example, CapML.com, this neither gives me
CapML as a trademark, nor does it verify for me that no one already has
this trademark. However, if this was a name anyone cared about, they would
have already grabbed it. And after I grab it, anyone thinking of using CapML
for something will first "whois capml.com", since it's so easy. Finding it
occupied, they could still trademark it, but they'd likely keep searching
for a different name.
As programmers, we need a zillion names for things, and even with the drop
in price of domain names, it would be crazy to grab a domain name for every
name you invent in constructing a system. However, for those parts of a
system, such as a protocol, where it needs to be promoted and talked about
separately, I think it will be increasingly problematic to use a name that
conflicts with someone else's trademark or .com. So I grabbed many of the
domain names you see on the above page primarily to reserve that part of the
name space for a use related to E. Specifically:
Although I love the whole "E Pluribus Unum" thing, we screwed up. We knew
we couldn't get e.com (single letters aren't granted (but what about
x.com?)), but we didn't think to grab pluribus.com or unum.com when we had
the chance. "Unum" names a fairly internal concept, so I won't sweat that
one, but we've been using "Pluribus" to name protocols. I think proposed
protocols are where this problem will become especially bad. (We'll
probably use Pluribus later to name something without this problem.) So we
now have the following names for levels of protocols, from bottom to top:
VatTP -- the inter-Vat Transport Protocol. Was data-pluribus.
CapTP -- the Capability Transport Protocol. Was object-pluribus
ERTP -- the Electronic Rights Transport Protocol. No change.
CapContract -- the Capability-based 3rd party smart Contract hosting protocol.
For these protocols, I've grabbed the *.net as well. The Java package name
(also visible in E) for all these will be net.*.
At the CapTP layer in a sense, we also have CapCert for the capability
oriented off line active invocation certificates, which I've been meaning to
get back to.
Of course, there's a relationship between these two levels. If it's
sufficiently separate in its promotion to warrant a separate name, then,
like CapIDL and CapCert, it would be good for it to be spun out into a
separate effort run by different people. Organizing names this way paves
the way for this kind of fissioning. Of course, it only solves the least
hard of all the problems with such a process ;)