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Re: how to write services (was: Re: Teams)

From: Maxime Devos
Subject: Re: how to write services (was: Re: Teams)
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2022 19:32:05 +0200
User-agent: Evolution 3.38.3-1

Blake Shaw schreef op wo 15-06-2022 om 17:01 [+0000]:
> Thats very good advice and will be a useful guide in refactoring the
> parts of the system services documentation. I think in general, we
> need to find a nice middle ground between the extremely general and
> the immediately sensible, as I remember when I first got into guix
> 1.5 years ago, arriving at services left me very confused. 

I don't doubt your confusal, though personally I'm confused on the
confusal and I think I would have been confused by ‘file AND file-like
object’.  Even more so since we both come from a mathematical
background, where AFAICT this kind of terminology and Guix'
interpretation is standard.

> mathematics I'm a fellow appreciator of the power of generality (the
> extreme genericity of scheme and guix is why I'm here!), I also think
> if it doesn't obey strict linguistic rules it can antithetical to its
> original purpose.

I don't see what linguistic rule the term ‘file-like object’ does not

> For example, I remember being very confused about
> "file-like objects", for the simple reason that it wasn't "a file or
> file-like object". While this might come from a GNU terminological
> lineage i'm unaware of,

AFAIK no relation to GNU.

>  my immediate reaction to trying to understand
> file-likeness is the simple rule that a semblance is strictly not
> what it resembles, and likeness qualifies semblance. It would be
> improper to place phones in a category of "phone-like objects",
> because the likeness assumes a distinction from the thing itself.

An object being ‘X-like’ merely means that it is like an X.  This does
not imply it _isn't_ an X, only suggests that in some cases it might be
a non-X.

More concretely, to me phones resemble phones and are objects, so
phones are phone-like objects.

Summarised, to me semblance/similar/likeness is reflexive, I don't see
where the non-reflexivity would come from?

Something I dislike about the ‘file AND file-like objects’ construction
is that it suggests that files and file-like objects are separate and
are handled separately, whereas files (as in, 'local-file' or
'computed-file') are just another case of file-like objects to Guix
(next to 'file-append', 'package', 'git-checkout', ...).  Furthermore,
usually file-like objects aren't files but more often they are

For a comparison, suppose we have a hierarchy of concepts, e.g.


Whole numbers can (informally speaking) be considered to be natural-
like numbers. Yet, that doesn't make natural numbers non-whole. 

File-like objects are objects that are like a file.  Yet, that doesn't
make files non-file-like.


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