The paper Feral Concurrency Control: An Empirical Investigation of Modern Application Integrity uses the term "feral" in a way I have never seen before.

Rails has developed a range of concurrency control strategies, two of which operate external to the database, at the application level, which we term feral concurrency control mechanisms.

The paper shows that various application-level data validations are less reliable than database-level checks.

The only usage of "feral" I'd seen previously applied to untamed animals - eg, "feral cats".

Are the authors using the term disparagingly, or does "feral" mean something different in this context?


Sorry for coming to this issue so late. For context, I am one of the coauthors of the paper. The term "feral concurrency control" in the paper was inspired by the common usage "feral database" (similarly "feral system") said by IT admin people, to refer to databases or systems that were run by staff outside the control of IT services. For example, a university department might keep a database of student information, separate from the centrally managed official student record system. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_information_systems

The connotation is of something that has escaped from control and is acting wild (like a feral cat is a cat that is, or descends from one which, escaped from domestication and became wild)


I think it's disparaging

Toward the end of the paper, there's a section called "Domesticating Feral Mechanisms", proposing solutions to the problems the paper describes.

So it appears that the authors do indeed picture application-level concurrency control mechanisms as animals which may be expected to poo on the carpet.


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