The new emerging NLE for GNU/Linux
State Final
Date 2008-09-18
Proposed by ct

Interface Namespaces

Interfaces and their implementations (plugins) need unique identifiers. We describe here what schemes shall be used to ensure this.


What are the goals?

  • We need unique identifiers.

  • We dont want anyone to register at us, this shall be a free system.

  • There are 2 kinds, one bound to persons and one to projects as whole.

  • Uniquenes, not identity is the goal, plugins could even be provided anonymously.

  • This is the lowest level interface stuff, usually you’ll deal with a high-level descriptor interface which provides much better (human readable) metainformation about a plugin.

  • The names should follow C identifier rules and either not to hard to deciper for a human or completely abstracted into a numeric ID like gpg id or uuid

  • Conclusion followed some mailinglist and IRC discussion: (see

First part: unique prefix

Domain names and emails names encoding

Domain names in lowercase, dots and special chars removed, first char must be a aphphanumeric character (if it is numeric, just write it out): -> lumieraorg
 Gmail.COM -> gmailcom -> ninetyninefoobarbaznet

These are used when the provider is a project and not an individual person.

If the provider of a interface is a individual person then he encodes his email address in a similar way The @ sign is encoded as uppercase "AT": -> sevenofnineATstartreknet

Abstract identifiers

As alternative method one can use his gpg (or pgp) key ids or full fingerprints. These are encoded as uppercase PGP or GPG followed with a sequence of hex digits (both upper and lower case allowed):


Next completely random identifiers (uuid’s) are used by prefixing them with uppercase "UID" followed by some alphanumeric characters (no underline), no encoding is specified but must conform to be a C identifier, shall give a entropy of 128 bits:

Remarks: this are now quite a lot more or less unique encodings, notably  we
could allow them all, they dont clash with each other. They would be parseable
if needed, but we never ever need to parse them, they are just taken as whole
and have no other meaning then being unique.

Following Parts: hierachic namespace

Lumiera itself will use some hierachic naming scheme for it interface declarations and implementations. The details will be layed out next, genereally thinks look like:


it is suggested that anyone providing plugins for lumiera follows this and extends it with his own identifier:

for examle joecoder`` writes a ultrablur then its identifier would look like:



The above described scheme will be implemented and used by me (cehteh).


I believe that writing plugins for Lumiera shall be simple. We do not want some central registry or management. Anyone shall be able to just start to write plugins. But that puts some reponsibility on the namespace so that all plugins can coexist and their names don’t clash. The above describes a very simple and flexible nameing system which anyone can follow. It produces names which should be sufficiently unique for practical purposes. It leaves alternatives for providing plugins as institutuion, individual or even anonymously.


Accepted by October.2008 developer meeting

Addendum Internal Interfaces

Interfaces which are internal and not meant for public use have 2 underscores after the prefix (eg: ‘lumieraorg__`). These interfaces must not be used by third party plugins, they are subject of unannounced changes or removal and make no guarantee about backwards compatibility. When we spot someone using this interfaces we 'will break’ his plugin 'intentionally'!  — ct