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SubjectRe: [Ksummit-discuss] [PATCH] CodingStyle: Inclusive Terminology
On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 06:56:53AM +0000, Harrosh, Boaz wrote:
> Kees Cook wrote:
> > I have struggled with this as well. The parts of speech change, and my
> > grammar senses go weird. whitelist = adjective noun. allow-list = verb
> > noun. verbing the adj/noun combo feels okay, but verbing a verb/noun is
> > weird.
> > And just using "allowed" and "denied" doesn't impart whether it refers
> > to a _single_ instance or a _list_ of instances.
> > But that's all fine. The change is easy to do and is more descriptive
> > even if I can't find terms that don't collide with my internal grammar
> > checker. ;)
> But why. In English many times a verb when it comes before the noun means an adjective, or an adjective like, describing some traits of the noun.

This is kind of my problem being a native English speaker: I can't
entirely describe _why_ a grammar construct feels wrong. :(

> Example:
> I work - work is a verb here.
> I used the work bench. - Work is saying something about the type of bench, an adjective. Same as you would say "I used the green bench".

Right, so the verb-noun being used as a noun is find, just as adj-noun
is. To me, "add it to the allow-list" is entirely sensible just like
"set it on the work-bench." It's the "verbing" of a noun that trips me

"I will whitelist the syscall" -- sounds correct to me (same for
"it is whitelisted" or "it is in whitelisting mode").

"I will allow-list the syscall" -- sounds wrong to me (same for
"it is allow-listed" or "it is in allow-listing mode").

Similarly, "I will work-bench" sounds wrong to me as does "it is
work-benched" or "it is in work-benching mode".

> I am not an English native at all but allow-list sounds totally English to me. (I guess the very correct English way is "allowed-list" where the past tense may convert the verb to a noun. but allow-list sounds very good to me as well. Say work-list as opposed to vacation-list do you need to say worked-list? I don't think so.)
> run mate, running mate. cutting board. these are all examples of verbs used as adjectives. Are they not English? What am I missing I would like to learn?

"it is in allowing-list mode" sounds even worse. :) But other
things require the tense follow the merged verb: "It's already in the
allowed-list" sounds fine, where "It's already in the whitelist" had no
tense since it lacked a verb. I haven't been able to find an comfortable
adjective that means "allow"; "allowable-list" is just long.

But, as mentioned earlier -- I have just switched to more descriptive
and less weird (to me) sentences. "It is set to deny by default"
(instead of "it's a whitelist") or "It's already in the allowed-list".


Kees Cook

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