Well adapted to the loosely coupled nature of distributed interaction in large-scale applications, the publish/subscribe communication paradigm has recently received increasing attention. With systems based on the publish/subscribe interaction scheme, subscribers register their interest in an event, or a pattern of events, and are subsequently asynchronously notified of events generated by publishers. Many variants of the paradigm have recently been proposed, each variant being specifically adapted to some given application or network model. This paper factors out the common denominator underlying these variants: full decoupling of the communicating entities in time, space, and synchronization. We use these three decoupling dimensions to better identify commonalities and divergences with traditional interaction paradigms. The many variations on the theme of publish/subscribe are classified and synthesized. In particular, their respective benefits and shortcomings are discussed both in terms of interfaces and implementations.