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January 28th, 2011 by

Arts, buffer, check, clutter, cobbler, colorblind, concurrent, convert, cook, crash, dialog, dump, expect, file, folks, fortune, genius, global, hello, indent, less, links, meanwhile, mirror, screen, sparse, suck, tree, units, words. What do these ordinary English words have in common? They are also names of software projects, which becomes a problem if you want to recognize package names in text. I understand that in the old days, the name of a command or application was only relevant in the context of the computer it ran on, and file names had to be short. Some of these names have allowed for a variety of jokes. But why, in the age of portable programs, WWW and search engines, can’t people come up with less ambiguous names? I mean, it’s not hard to join two words, or, at a minimum, prefix a word with a vowel, like, uhm, a round fruit does. 🙂

Oh, and did I mention that we have over 160 packages with a 2-3 letter name? The one mentioned in the title is a programming language, btw.

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2 Responses to “Boo”

  1. Nikanth Karthikesan


    May be some kind of context awareness could help. But given that it is possible to fool even human-beings with clever statements that could be ambiguous, it can never be perfect.

    I think you have to blacklist such packages and avoid detecting those packages. Let those bugs rot as a punishment. 😉

  2. Michal Marek

    Yes, I’m not writing a paper on computational linguistics, so I’ll just blacklist a number of packages. It’s not just English words, BTW, but the bot probably won’t be able to recognize a bug in the “rpm” program itself and a couple of others. Too bad the hackweek is over now and I have nothing close to an alpha version 🙁