Global Namespaces Are Just Plain Wrong.

I Find Karma (
Mon, 3 Mar 97 23:59:38 PST

Remember earlier today when I was ranting about some of the design
issues on the W3C name pages? For example,


is particularly frustrating because it cites the naming problem as

> The naming problem: if you put information in a name, it decreases its
> longevity; if you don't you can't dereference it to a resource.

I've been thinking about this some more, and I've decided even though
the above statement might be true, that the naming problem is a lot more
subtle than that statement suggests.

To me, it comes down to a matter of philosophy: the real question, in my
mind, is whether global namespaces are necessary at all.

I'm beginning to realize that, at a base level, global namespaces are
just plain morally wrong: the names are ultimately meaningless. There
is no global name for "the second phone from the right in the back of
the Carrow's on Mission Street in South Pasadena, California" - rather
it is a relative name based on the placement of other things. Since
names are not global, global names themselves are insecure because I
have no way to dereference the meaning in a way that makes sense to all
people everywhere.

So, the philosophy of naming requires not just that we patch up URLs as
they exist; rather, as Rohit has said, it is a matter of trust. I need
to be able to trust a name before I can add it to my personal list of
names. To name is to own is to trust. I'm really starting to believe it.

And so, I'm finally realizing the implications of Rohit's statement:

> If there are inconsistent worldviews -- i.e. I and a KKK member have
> different ip addrs for -- then how can we solve naming?

Naming is a MUCH harder problem than most people give it credit to be.


I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for
it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don't speak German.
Anyway, it's a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little
square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don't know the name
for those either.
-- Jack Bross