Wow! Must-read paper.

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 11:48:08 PDT

I have just finished reading a paper that has warped my fragile little
mind. This might be the most important paper I've read since the
Lifestreams papers 5+ yrs ago: death 2 hierarchical naming, namespace
unification, dirs as closure, searching v. navigating, queries v.
containers, unstructured v. structured data, information retrieval,
etc... hits all my hot buttons. It's at.

Particular concepts, though in some cases these points were made first /
better in other research / ongoing work, cf. Synopses, etc.

    * Pathnames in hierarchical namespaces are closures
    * Directories and queries are equivalent
    * Queries are names
    * Two naming primitives: ordering and grouping
    * Unification of filtering, fileing
    * Elimination of the notion of containers as first-class
    * Unification of navigation and searching
    * Containers / directories are intersection of names and attributes

The first part is a plainly written survey of the problem space I've
been edging about for years -wrt- the things mentioned above. It's my
intuitive belief that there is, out there somewhere in Platonic
Formland, ;-) a sort of Grand Unified Abstraction for simplifying many
of the problems inherent in information retrieval and use. Things like
UNIX, Plan 9, Linda, Lifestreams, and so forth all hint at and validate
this. Curmudgeons will say that there's no such Grand Unified Beast,
that one size does not fit all with respect to the actual problems these
different systems solve; different problems demand different
techniques. I'm not so sure: look at the power gained by namespace
unification in i.e. Plan 9 v. UNIX.

At any rate, here's somebody else that's thinking about this. This
particular somebody, Hans Reiser, has a working Linux filesystem which
is the research basis for this work; and his work is being funded by,
among other things, (find me songs about trains, perhaps?) and
Ecila, a European search engine company.

This is wild. Jeff Bob sez check it out!



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