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all: decide on the hyphenation of pseudorandom vs pseudo-random? #25959

bradfitz opened this issue Jun 19, 2018 · 5 comments

all: decide on the hyphenation of pseudorandom vs pseudo-random? #25959

bradfitz opened this issue Jun 19, 2018 · 5 comments


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@bradfitz bradfitz commented Jun 19, 2018

The docs for crypto/rand contain both "pseudorandom" and "pseudo-random" for the same part of speech.

Decide which to use.

Also, the package doc says:

Package rand implements a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator.

But the Reader says:

Reader is a global, shared instance of a cryptographically strong pseudo-random generator.

Is it cryptographically "strong" or is it "secure"? Can we pick a word there too?

Or can we just remove "pseudorandom" altogether? I feel like it makes it sound too much like math/rand.

Can we just say "cryptographically secure random number generator"?

/cc @FiloSottile @agl @ianlancetaylor

@bradfitz bradfitz added this to the Go1.11 milestone Jun 19, 2018
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@ianlancetaylor ianlancetaylor commented Jun 19, 2018

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@smasher164 smasher164 commented Jun 19, 2018

I see what you meant by your comment now :)
It looks like "pseudorandom" is a valid English word:
Additionally, words with the prefix "pseudo-" are apparently not hyphenated:

Secure vs Strong: If we had to choose, I'd go with secure since even the man page for /dev/[u]random mentions the following under "Usage":

the output is cryptographically secure against attackers without local root access as soon as it is reloaded in the boot sequence

TLDR, we may want to mention that crypto/rand implements a CSPRNG (cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator).

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@robpike robpike commented Jun 19, 2018

I prefer pseudo-random and that's what math/rand uses, so that's my vote.

Generally, in English phrases become adjectives by hyphenation, and then after a long period of consistent usage the hyphens drop, but I don't believe pseudo-random is ready to lose its hyphen yet.

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@FiloSottile FiloSottile commented Jun 19, 2018

"cryptographically secure random number generator"

Too many people go from that "pseudo" to "but I need real randomness!" and then you end up with /dev/random.

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@gopherbot gopherbot commented Jun 19, 2018

Change mentions this issue: crypto/rand: make documentation consistent between package comment and Reader

@bradfitz bradfitz modified the milestones: Go1.11, Unplanned Jun 20, 2018
@bradfitz bradfitz changed the title crypto/rand: decide on the hyphenation of pseudorandom vs pseudo-random all: decide on the hyphenation of pseudorandom vs pseudo-random? Jun 20, 2018
gopherbot pushed a commit that referenced this issue Jun 20, 2018
…d Reader

Updates #25959

Change-Id: I9ae64b216ab5807718db0db98b32de1dc5fa4bec
Reviewed-by: Rob Pike <>
Reviewed-by: Filippo Valsorda <>
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