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cmd/go: document that module names without dots are reserved #32819

mvdan opened this issue Jun 27, 2019 · 2 comments


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@mvdan mvdan commented Jun 27, 2019

Intuitively, most Go developers publish Go code under import paths like, not foo/bar. Often, this is just to make them reachable on the internet.

However, some have avoided the .tld entirely when working with local-only GOPATHS and modules. And this mostly works, as long as you're careful to not clash with an existing standard library package.

For example, I recall a recent issue in this tracker (which I can't find now!) where their GOPATH build broke when upgrading the Go version, as the root path element was plugin, which had been added to the standard library since.

An instance of this discussion happened last September, as pointed out by @bcmills. Quoting @rsc:

We want to allow experimentation, so we're not categorically cutting off all module statements in all contexts without dots, but anything that has to get resolved through downloading needs a dot and more generally should have a fully qualified domain name. That's how we've carved the name space between standard library and external things. I understand that pedantically the RFCs don't require dots but that's the separation we've used from very very early on with goinstall and later go get.

However, this separation isn't well documented anywhere. Even if we consider it as a warning or recommendation more than a strict rule, I think we should still mention it somewhere.

I also think we should encourage the use of .tld even if the module is for local use only, because of potential breakages with future Go builds. Perhaps a suggestion can be made, like .local.

Another advantage of strongly encouraging the use of .tld is that it's much easier to tell if a package is from the standard library or not. Without the separation, one would have to keep a list of all standard library package paths, which easily gets out of date. Or run go list std, which adds work.

Note that this doesn't need to change how cmd/go behaves; it's fine if a module name without a dot happens to build today.


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@mvdan mvdan commented Jun 27, 2019

The title contains "modules", but I assume this would apply to the GOPATH mode too. That is, $GOPATH/src/foo/bar would be discouraged just like module foo/bar.


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@andybons andybons commented Jun 28, 2019

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