Re: Rise of the Plugins

On Thu, 2007-05-17 at 14:00 -0400, Behdad Esfahbod wrote:
> On Thu, 2007-05-17 at 12:46 -0500, Shaun McCance wrote:
> > On Thu, 2007-05-17 at 19:41 +0200, Andy Wingo wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > > 
> > > On Thu, 2007-05-17 at 18:26 +0200, Vincent Untz wrote:
> > > > Plugin vs extension? 
> > > [...]
> > > > My €0.02: I think that people are getting used to the Extension term,
> > > > and it sounds less geeky.
> > > 
> > > Extension has the advantage that there's only one way to spell it (as
> > > opposed to plugin vs plug-in).
> > > 
> > > A minor point,
> > 
> > Not that I'm disagreeing, but it's worth pointing out that the
> > GNOME Documentation Style Guide (which doubles as terminology
> > guidelines for the entire desktop) has had "plugin" as the
> > recommended spelling for quite some time.
> How would esr's aunt Tilly take that? M-W redirects to "plug in":
> Main Entry: plug in
> Function: verb
> intransitive verb : to establish an electric circuit by inserting a plug
> transitive verb : to attach or connect to an electric receptacle (as an
> outlet)
> As opposed to plug-in:
> Main Entry: plug-in 
> Pronunciation: 'pl&g-"in
> Function: adjective
> : designed to be connected to an electric circuit by plugging in <a
> plug-in toy> <a plug-in circuit board>
> And:
> Main Entry: ex·ten·sion 
> Pronunciation: ik-'sten(t)-sh&n
> Function: noun
> Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin extension-, extensio, from
> Latin extendere
> 1 a : the action of extending : state of being extended b : an
> enlargement in scope or operation <tools are extensions of human hands>

It's not uncommon for software producers to have terminology
guidelines that don't quite follow dictionary definitions.
In the software world, we often use metaphors and re-use
words with a sufficiently similar real-world meaning.

For example, M-W defines assistant as "a person who assists".
But the GDPSG provides the following definition:

  An interactive tool that helps you to perform a complex task.
  An assistant guides you through the steps required to perform
  the task.

And as for whether or not plugin should be hyphentated (and
whether or not we agree with M-W), I'll point out the GDPSG
recommends "email", while M-W thinks "e-mail" is correct.
And I stand firmly behind the GDPSG on this one.  See the
note at the bottom of

None of this has any bearing on whether we should use "plugin"
or "extension".  It is only to say that, if we use "plugin",
then we should not say "plug-in", and that that's been the
recommended practice in Gnome for quite a while.

> And btw the GNOME Documentation Style Guide link on
> seems to be
> broken.

Yeah, I know.  Nobody seems to know how to fix it.


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