direct_proxies "problem"

David Bruant bruant.d at
Sun Jan 13 03:19:26 PST 2013

Le 13/01/2013 01:27, Nathan Wall a écrit :
>> I'm still reluctant to give up on the unknownPrivateSymbol trap, because
>> doing so means giving up on mediation for one case.
>> In this case, we were able to capture every single private symbol passed
>> back and forth, but in another situation, maybe we didn't create A and B.
>> Someone else created them and just shared with each the same private
>> symbol and then handed off access to A and B so you can work with them.
>> You share an object through a membrane, they cooperate to do what you
>> ask them to (without using their shared secret), then, you'd like to cut
>> the communication? You revoke the membranes. But sharing a common object
>> (or a least different proxies to a common target) is all they need to
>> continue communicate since they have a private symbol you're oblivious
>> to, so they can still communicate.
>> In that scenario, the only way to actually cut the communication is the
>> unknownPrivateSymbol trap (admittedly, the scenario has been crafted to
>> that end, but is realistic anyway)
> Is this scenario unique to private symbols? Can't I replace the word "private symbol" in your scenario above with "WeakMap" (or really just any object) and you have the same problem?
Yes or no. That's what we're debating. Private symbols and Weakmaps have 
a lot in common. One major difference is how they are thought and used.
In how they are being used, they should be associated with strings (when 
used in the context or property name).
Also, if the creator of A and B cares about how and whether they can 
communicate, it can send a wrapped weakmap and revoke the access to the 
shared weakmap anytime it wants. That's not an option with private 
symbols without the unknownPrivateSymbol trap.

> If A and B are created by someone else, and both A and B are given a shared WeakMap and then they are passed off to a membrane which tries to cut communication, can't A and B continue to communicate behind the scenes through their shared WeakMap?
The contract of whoever created A and B may be just that it shared a 
private symbol with them (maybe because it's using this symbol with 
them). Maybe even specifically so that it can cut the communication latter.

> I think if A and B are known directly to anyone before the membrane, they can build a backdoor to communicate, `unknownPrivateSymbol` trap or not.
If A and B are known directly to one another, it's pointless to try to 
separate them indeed. However, it can be in the contract of any other 
party that they can make communicate A and B but only in a revokable manner.
The problem with private symbols without the unknownPrivateSymbol trap 
is that it put in the language a way to provide an unrevokable ability 
to communicate, making private symbols inadequate for a lot of 
situations situations where you need to revoke it. Obviously, you can 
work around with wrapped WeakMap, but suddenly, you've reduced what's 
allowed in the language for untrusted code, elsewhere known as feature 
I think feature starvation is acceptable when you try to retrofit 
proxies into existing APIs that weren't designed with proxies in mind 
(DOM as an example). However I don't think it's acceptable for features 
being worked on.


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