That's not too bad a link, and it does explain the difference between monitor color and printer color - at least the theory behind them. But, most of all, what I get from it is that the theory of primary colors has changed since it was taught when I was in school. However. The explanations are weak and unconvincing. I'm not saying the content is not true - after all, there's amazing things being done with light nowadays - but to describe something as "secondary primary" is just nonsense. It's either primary or it's secondary. It can't be both. And I suppose this is the problem I'm having. It all seems rather arbitrary and random. For example, in the case of a monitor, that page says if we combine red and green we get yellow. But it's a computer for goodness sakes. We can program it to combine red and green to get pink if we want. There is no causal relationship between one color and another in a computer. Which is probably what prompted my ramble in the first place.
If we look at the page I linked to about named colors and pull a few values from it...
... we can see how it's grounded in the theory att.net describes. Sort of. But that doesn't make it any less arbitrary. For example, number systems can be binary, octal, decimal, hex, etc. Each system is used for different purposes and neither invalidates the others. For colors, it appears to be the same way except that the motivation is lacking. Well, except for maybe hardware compatibility reasons, but that doesn't make the theory a physiological truth. Which leads us back to where we began. If psp generates a 256 color palette, why those colors? If tri made metalcr2, why those colors? If I want to create grass green, mud brown, or sky blue, how can I calculate the numerical rgb or cmy values for them before actually seeing them on the screen and using the color picker in psp to identify it. How can I create an optimized palette for a texture. How can I do anything except by trial and error. There has to be a way. I just don't see it in amongst this muddle of seemingly arbitrary chatter.
A parting thought.
Who ever invented internet code spelled the word <i>referrer</i> incorrectly and we've been living with it ever since. Nobody makes excuses for it, but nobody has attempted to fix it yet either. After all, everything still works.
In the case of colors, is it possible that the guy who invented the picture tube got his primaries mixed up and the world has been trying to rationalize it ever since? It's certainly the way it seems to me. And I've seen nothing to refute the idea either.