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Wouldn't it make sense for Cargo not to use crate names in file names, and use hexadecimally encoded hashes instead?

Yes, or some other identifier that's unique to that crate. Assuming that the crate name is also a valid file name seems risky.

Or have a prefix. Once cost me exam points trying to optimize a prefix away. The examinators were right.

You could just hex encode the crate name. No need to hash it too.

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