Massimiliano Dessì pointed me to this TSS entry, in which authors discussed their paper "Life above the service tier", 2 years ago. Their SOFEA architecture (someone calls it SOUI) looks very much like the 2.5 tiers and indeed is. Some observation:
- 2.5 tiers name is technically not very precise, but IMHO much more evocative.
- Completely agree on the Front-Controller being an anti-pattern now