Open Source needs a marketing facelift

Because some of these names look like they were created by a 5 year old. Seriously! Isn’t it hard enough to sell OS without the additional hurdles? How many misconceptions do you need to add to your “to fight” list?

Let me give you a small sample…

Duplicity

… Is what we see frequently in soap operas, made for TV movies, and courtroom dramas.

Oh wait… We’re talking about a backup program.

Yes, it’s still in beta, so it has a chance to correct this issue. But I won’t be holding my breath.

KGB Archiver

This is really an awesome utility and it breaks my heart to include it… But what were you thinking?!

Go-oo

I kid you not. That’s really the name of an office suite. It’s a variant of the OpenOffice suite and is apparently modified with added improvements.

The project site claims better functionality and more “polish”, though I haven’t tried it.

But somehow, I doubt there are many others out there (besides freaks) who want to get their hands dirty with Go-oo. An office suite maybe, but definitely not Go-oo.

OH! You meant “Go”, break, “oo”! Well, how many people do you think will get that on the first try.

GIMP

Two words… Pulp Fiction.

You know, I don’t recall any other acronym besides “GNU” that has evoked this many questionable titles (see below, there’s more where that came from).

SXEmacs

Speaking of weird fetishes, I don’t think the added pink text and cheesy font are hiding any innuendo here… or helping much.

It’s a replacement for XEmacs a fork of Emacs. (Why in the world would you fork Emacs? Haven’t you foolish mortals ever encountered perfection before?)

And aims to correct all the aberrations and bad taste left behind by the afore mentioned fork.

VILE

OK seriously… I don’t even know where to start…

It’s bad enough you people had to mess with perfection, but dragging Vi into this too?

Trying to merge traits of both editors to end this dispute is like claiming interracial babies will end racism… It bloody won’t!

GnuCash

No, it’s not the name of a get-rich-quick scheme you’ll find in your inbox.
But you could have fooled me if I hadn’t actually seen the project first and I wasn’t familiar with GNU.

I can understand you want to give it a meaningful title and you want to include the “GNU” badge, but seriously?

GnuCash is actually quite a nice piece of software for managing your finances. It’s a pretty good alternative for Quicken. But don’t think I can get my mom to use it instead, let alone a boss, with a name like that.

UltraMonkey

It’s doesn’t weigh 200Lbs – 300Lbs, have super powers, wear a costume, fight crime, or enjoy bananas.

What is actually a very reliable and high performance load-balancing software package for Linux, has a name that makes it near impossible to sell it to corporate Pinhead(© Bill O’Rly) bosses. You know for a fact, these idiots always look at the name first. If the IT people are smart enough to hide the name of the software and just call it the “load balancer”, they can get away with installing it. Or else, forget it!

Do you have any idea how many people in charge of money will scoff at spending any IT time (therefore money) on something with this unfortunate name?

——–

I think that’s enough to get the message across. The more discerning of you will notice what’s really happening here. The fact is that these software packages are put together by nerds and geeks. And nerds and geeks will use nerdy and geeky names.

Some of the titles (adding those not mentioned here) are outright embarrassing.  And not even the RotN kind of funny embarrassing. I mean face turning red, can’t look at boss, muttering the name (hoping for the boss’ poor hearing + morning Tequila to make up a new name) type of embarrassing.

I know it’s not all their fault. I’m sure most people didn’t even know what a Gimp was before Pulp Fiction. But change with the times as they say…

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6 thoughts on “Open Source needs a marketing facelift

  1. OH I WENT THERE.

    Because of all the crazy ctrl+alt+space+esc+quot+umlaut+gdkjfl34h?? key combinations that inadvertently but inexorably show up on sites written in emacs? ;)

  2. How about referring the GIMP by its name and not the acronym: the GNU image manipulation program?

    Your reference to a “gimp” is probably a reference to a niche underground subculture of sexual practises. The movie Pulp Fiction is a presentation of exceedingly violent actions that is directed by a director that is well known to make movies that prominently feature extreme violence. The point is that it is not the GIMP’s developer’s fault if SOME people are disturbed by a scene in an a movie that features extreme human practises.

  3. Thanks for the comment Bob.

    It stopped being “underground” a long time ago. You’re right, “some” people are disturbed by it, and I consider them rather silly. After all, the movie has an ‘R’ rating and I’d expect anyone who doesn’t want to see that type of content to stay away from it altogether.

    I wasn’t referring to the overly sensitive types, but for people who would raise an eyebrow at the term during everyday usage, if only at the similarity…

    And I’ve yet to come across anyone new to the open source world who didn’t ask me again after mentioning the name… “GIMP ?”

    As for “GNU image manipulation program”… I ask you to point me in a direction of a conversation, be it in a forum, comment, blog post or email, where it’s referred to by its full name on a regular basis. Or one where starting the description with the long title didn’t scare away someone.

    There’s a reason why “OpenOffice” and “Blender” are wonderfully marketable names. They’re not silly.

    Of course it isn’t the developer’s fault the name got associated with that. But after it did, I would imagine pride can be set aside a bit here.

    Also, other programs manage to pull off the acronym thing rather well… So I don’t know why this project is somehow “holy” enough to be exempt from choosing a good name.

    E.G.
    “Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver”
    Or Amanda (since you pointed out the proper name for GIMP).

    “OpenAFS”
    AFS for “Andrew Distributed Filesystem”.
    Notice how it even gets out the “Open Source” part well.

    “JOVE”
    For, “Jonathan’s Own Version of Emacs”.

    … So I don’t see a reason why it’s so hard. They can still be geeky if the creators want it, but be marketable. That was the point I was trying to hit home.

    I’m sorry you got hung up on GIMP alone.

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