On Jul 4, 12:08     
> On Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM, John Feminella <jo... / bitsbuilder.com> wrote:
> >> Even so it would be good to know the general criteria to consider.
>
> > Conceptually, I like to use these rules of thumb (I think Jim Weirich
> > noted it originally, but I am not sure):
>
> > 1.) If the content and exact sequence of characters is the important
> > part, use a string.
>
> > 2.) If the identity is the important part, use a symbol.
>
> I use a different rule of thumb which has been circulated before as
> well - I can't really remember who came up with this.
>
> 1. If the set is not fixed (typically because it depends on input
> obtained from somewhere) use String.
>
> 2. If the set of values is fixed (typically because the program
> includes just a fixed number of keys) use Symbols.
>
> According to that standards Fileutils should really be using Symbols
> as keys and not Strings since OPT_TABLE is completely used internally
> only (contains valid options of methods).
>
> Btw, if at all conversion between the two should be employed I'd do it
> as part of input processing.      > configuration file which may select a few items then a conversion from
> String to Symbol would be part of the process which reads the
> configuration file.    
> with Symbols.

Thanks robert (et al.). Makes perfect sense. If my current patch is
accepted I will make a new one using symbols.