Actually they borrowed the word from security systems that predate them
such as Kerberos.
I think Kerberos again borrowed the term from security software dating
back from Mainframe days.
I just wonder how well-established "principal" really is (yeah, I know, J2EE
are pretty big establishments).
Here is an early reference I found (1993) that makes heavy use of that term:
My biggest argument was that the understanding of a word is closely
connected to suitable and appropriate translations of it. So, my
question is, if big projects like J2EE and .NET have it, how do they
translate it? A quick google (I did it this time! ;)) showed that a
German translation doesn't seem to exist -- the English word is quoted
all the time. So, in the end, it means as much to a German person as
Fahrvergnügen*) means to an English speaker..
Agreed. I think using the English word would be fine.
I agree about questioning things, that's the best way (and maybe the
only way) good ideas happen :-)
However I think the term "principal" has a meaning that is much more
broad. Check out the dictionary.com
I agree; however, one should question even well-established terms once
in a while. We've had a good year or two experimenting with the
acceptance of "principal". I wonder what people think; at least noone
here stood up for "principal" because he believed that this term really
fits the concept... (because it doesn't; the word denotes the headmaster
of an American school :))
definition, esp. under the "Law" heading:
I think this term did not originate with security software, rather from
law and finance.
This is how I recognized it when I first heard it applied in high tech.
We borrow words like this all the
time, for example talking about performing "triage" (a word borrowed
All this having been said, I still think it would be OK to use a
different word for different audiences.
Programmers and System Administrators should understand "Principal" but
I would never
expect regular end users to use it. For them, I would probably use
"User" or "Login" depending on
the context of the conversation.
hope this helps,
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