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Buffer naming

I agree with your basic premises, but I think there are several problems
with your proposal as it stands.  Let me list some problems that need to
be thought about some more before we do anything about this.

1) Return doing completion (as happens now for buffer names), pathname
completion, and pathname defaulting are incompatible when taken
together.  Eliminating return doing completion would eliminate the
problem, and although I would find that somewhat irritating, such an
inconsistancy causes several other problems as well, so maybe it should

2) What you propose really is too complex.  In part this is due to your
explanation, but let's look for the essential features you're looking
for and see what the simplest way to get them is.

2a)  Would a scheme where user input is first parsed to see if it is a
pathname, and then converted to a buffer name do the trick?  Maybe the
other way around?

3)  What should M-X Rename Buffer do?

4) How many different representations of a pathname are there?  This
relates to logical pathnames, pathnames with different equivalent
namings, etc.  Is it reasonable to just give buffers n different names,
where n is a reasonably small number like 2 or 3?

5) How about a minibuffer command called Buffer as Pathname, which when
you wanted to pick a buffer name with pathname completion, or with
defaulting, you'd do S-F or something?  Remember the distinction between
^X^F and ^XB (when the file is already loaded) is which space it
operates over.  Is it a good thing to mix these two things into a single
method of input, or can we SAY what method of naming we're using?