domingo, 12 de junio de 2011

Current Debates...

This has been quite a controversial weekend in the world of FLOSS. First, apparently a Linux expert wrote an article stating his return to Redmond's OS, and then there was another article criticizing the names FLOSS developers give to their creations.

Concerning the expert who went back to Windows, I don't judge him. People are free to choose whatever they want. After tasting the waters of Free Software, I said I don't want to go back...but does that mean that I will never go back? I don't know. So far, I don't see any reason to. But I didn't see any reason to abandon Windows when I moved my house to the Realms of the Penguin, either. Even so, Linux captivated me based on true merits and not on advertising. But the future is so uncertain...Who knows, I might end up using Apple's creations (don't think so, though) or become a full Haiku or BSD user...or maybe I'll use something totally different.

What I do know is that whatever OS becomes my main OS in the future, it will be because I chose it, not because somebody imposed it on me. The same goes for the cloud. I will always thank Linux for opening my eyes.

Now...the business of the names seems to me less justifiable. I don't see why people criticize FLOSS names so much using "the corporate world" as the supreme standard. In fact, the corporate world is full of silly, poorly descriptive names, too. Mechatotoro had mentioned something about this before here. Now, what I find absurd is that just because people do not know how to pronounce a foreign name (Mageia, for example), they feel rightfully entitled to bash such name. That attitude says worse of those complaining than of the names themselves. Learn to pronounce it and problem solved! These complaints are even annoying when coming from English-speaking individuals, for pronunciation and spelling are not often transparent in this language. Will your brain explode for learning how to pronounce something in a language other than your native one? I don't think so.

What about silly names? Ubuntu nicknames come to mind.

While I'm not a big fan of Ubuntu's release nicknames, I don't see any problem with them, either. Developers name or nickname their releases at their will. Don't like it? Then help develop and earn your right to change those names! :P

But what about Kaffeine, K3B, GNOME, and so on? Some people will tell me "C'mon! They are indeed SILLY!"

Sillier than Windows Vista and Vista/7 mega-killer "new" feature, the one that goes by the name of "POWERSHELL"?

What's that? What does that tell you? Power Rangers meet Ninja Turtles?? See? Subjectivity is not a problem of the name, but of the audience.

"No! Its name is appropriate because it describes what this shell does!," will say Windows Defenders (another great silly name! Let's defend the windows...and the walls...and the doors!)...Still, PowerShell is a cheesy's more appropriate for third graders playing with their trading cards than for the respectable IT and corporate worlds. Seriously, MONAD sounds much more respectable in that sense.

Then, we have Apple and all their "iSomething" names. For some, such names sound great while for others they sound plain "iDiotic."

Still, people use Apple's creations and many couldn't live without them.

The bottomline? Names are just names. They are bound to temporal and geographic contexts--what sounds horrible today will be a killer name in a couple of years and vice versa. Similarly, what sounds horrible in a region will be a great name in another.

Deal with it and stop complaining, please!

7 comentarios:

  1. The article about FLOSS naming was written 'tongue in cheek', but it does raise some good points. If your name is fairly unpronounceable, it will get butchered over and over (see Mageia).

    Your use of Powershell as an example of a bad name is silly. Any admin can look at this name and get an idea of what this application does. But Monad? Sounds like a disease.

    And I make these comments as a strong advocate of Linux and FLOSS.

  2. @ 3d Beef,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    My point is precisely the subjectivity of the name perception. Is "Mageia" unpronounceable or is it that people are bothered to find out or don't want to learn how to pronounce it? By that standard, all foreign names are unpronounceable because there will always be people failing to pronounce such names correctly.

    Those who chose the name have to bear with it if they didn't realize about that before. Now, bashing names because I cannot pronounce them seems to me more an issue of subconscious nationalism/xenophobia? through language than a problem of the name itself.

    Concerning PowerShell, it may make sense to admins, but what about the "regular user" that Windows defends so much? (I'm one of them!) What will that name sound like to him/her? Yeah, truly descriptive! :P

    If you don't believe that name is cheesy, try attaching "power" to other software/hardware components and see what you get: power office suite, power spreadsheet, power monitor, power mouse...Power MineSweeper. That's pure children's talk!

    Is PowerShell more powerful than other shells out there? I doubt it. So, why is it named "PowerShell"? If you believe it is indeed so powerful that "Power" had to be attached to its name, let me say that you simply bought into the company's advertising discourse. The shell itself keeps being a shell, call it "Power-Hyper-Mega-Super-Dooper Shell" or "Monad."

    By the way, your reaction to Monad was fun! LOL Thanks for that! Maybe it was indeed a disease, so they renamed it! ^__^

  3. I think FLOSS developers have quite an imagination for naming things! I'm tired of all the "Windows Image viewer/Editor/Creator" or iSomethings of the software world. In the end, it's names like GwenView, GCompris, Dèjá Dup,K3b (with his "Burn,baby,burn!" motto) or Handbrake that make you smile. The name's meaning not being immediately obvious is part of the charm.
    About Mageia, I was totally surprised to see many people (mainly English speakers) complain about it's cryptic pronunciation. For me,being Portuguese (maybe that's my bias), it sounds so natural and beautiful.

  4. @ Helder,

    Yes; I agree with you. Some people like you and I appreciate imaginative names. I love K3B, for is so clever! Also, just as you said, I see that those complaining about Mageia are English speakers for the most part. Are we some kind of geniuses because we can pronounce "Mageia"? Are we extraterrestrials because it even sounds beautiful to us? What is it that English speakers don't like about the pronunciation of "Mageia"? Why is it so difficult for them if their language is also "cryptic" ("enough" vs. "dough"; "door" vs. "good"; "faerie" vs. "fairy")? Maybe that "Mageia" is not English? Hmmm.

  5. I want a new version of Wine to be named Bacchus :D

  6. @ Vanargand,

    ROFL. That's a good one, too!

  7. English speaking people should fix the many pronunciation inconsistencies before saying anything about pronunciation. Take "gauge", for instance. You say /geyj/ So, you make an "U" sound like an "i" in "tier"

    MA-GE-I-A. Simple. No difficult sounds.