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How 10 Iconic Tech Products Got Their Names

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the slash-dev-slash-random dept.

Businesses 247

lgmac writes "Think Windows Azure is a stupid name? Ever wonder how iPod, BlackBerry and Twitter got their names? Author Tom Wailgum goes inside the process of creating tech product names that are cool but not exclusionary, marketable, and most of all, free of copyright and trademark gotchas. Here's the scoop on ten iconic tech products and how they got their monikers, plus a chat with the man responsible for naming Azure, BlackBerry, and more. (What's the one he wishes he'd named but didn't? Google.)"

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I bet... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723847)

...it involved a lot of pot.

Re:I bet... (5, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723923)

Not really. Naming is actually a really big business and is usually a pretty painful process. I know someone that was a professional namer that worked for a big branding house for a while. The time they spent coming up with names was pretty incredible.

I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen him working on projects with my own eyes. I always figured a bunch of marketing hacks just got together in a room and tossed around names until one stuck. Maybe I was just biased because that's the way it worked where I was at.

Re:I bet... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723989)

and then there is Apple

it's a phone, what should we call it? iPhone

it's a new Mac, what should we call it? iMac

it handles all your tunes, what should we call it? iTunes

great, boys, we're done here

Re:I bet... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724285)

Smart moves on their part for sure, but it's not the "i" that's going to get them into trouble [washingtonpost.com] .

Re:I bet... (2, Funny)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724533)

I'm still waiting for iPr0n.

Re:I bet... (2, Funny)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725055)

They did the iRack, when are they gonna do the iRan?

Re:I bet... (2, Insightful)

b96miata (620163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725161)

And since they're apple, the fact that another company (some networking equipment firm no one's ever heard of) had already thought up and marketed an iPhone is no problem whatsoever.

Re:I bet... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724361)

I always figured a bunch of marketing hacks just got together in a room and tossed around names until one stuck.

How is it done then? I'm having trouble imagining any other way.

Re:I bet... (5, Informative)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724525)

A team of namers is given the parameters of the project -
product / company type
target audience
what sort of feeling the name should convey
the regions that the name will be used in

Namers then go off on their own and compose massive lists of names. I've seen the names run the gamut from simple mashups of common words to mashups of greek / latin roots to words based on etymological research of the original target "feeling" words. Then the namers get together and reduce the list down to a set of finalists before presenting them for client review.

Sometimes it takes a few iterations... Particularly if the objective is to get a globally trademarkable word that won't be misinterpreted as meaning anything offensive in another country.

Re:I bet... (2, Funny)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724823)

Hey maygn! Why you buy a car that no go?

Re:I bet... (4, Funny)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724849)

So, what kind of names do their children have? Did they spend months obsessively trying to determine a name that conveys "don't beat me up, now, please hire me later"?

Re:I bet... (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724943)

Depends on how set on a name their wife is, it could be over in a matter of seconds.

Re:I bet... (4, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724933)

And I'd add that some places actively test the names, as well. E.g., asking what people think in focus groups of different names. Or, more subtly, showing a new product to different people with different names on it, and getting stats about their reactions.

Depending too much on what executives personally think of names is dangerous, because executives are very rarely representative of the target market. That lesson applies to lots of other things, too, like features and pricing.

Re:I bet... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725033)

So, really, it's just a bunch of marketing hacks who go off on their own and come up with a bunch of names and then get together in a room and toss them around until one sticks.

If nothing sticks, rinse and repeat.

Re:I bet... (5, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724561)

Naming is actually a really big business and is usually a pretty painful process. I know someone that was a professional namer that worked for a big branding house for a while. The time they spent coming up with names was pretty incredible.

F/OSS, in general, fails miserably here. "Linpus Lite" on the EEE PCs? WTF?

The name should not matter, but in reality, it does. Unfortunately, OSS projects seem to only accept a rebranding under threats of legal action.

Re:I bet... (3, Interesting)

frission (676318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724759)

same goes for logos. I remember a friend of mine saying that he got to see the Nike sketchbook, he said the original brainstorm of "possible" logos was as thick as a bible (if the bible was printed on regular paper, not the thin paper).

in the end, all the work for a swoosh :)

Re:I bet... (2, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723969)

...it involved a lot of pot.

According to the article, it has to do with a lot more than smoking pot. Lexicon Branding typically uses well known and loved words, phrases and syllables, in trendy-sounding configurations [lexicon-branding.com] , and I would stress that smoking pot in doing so would only help you reach that type of audience, and in most cases Lexicon's audience is much broader than that.

Re:I bet... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724069)

iPot?

How about the "iForOneWelcomeOur...".

On second thought - nah...

MSFT (2, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723865)

While Microsoft's next OS is kind of a "Ho-hum" name, one has only to look at what happened with the most recent Windows release to understand why Microsoft might have gone back to a tried-and-true naming philosophy: Vista? Ouch. Windows 95 and XP? Those have done much better.

Name it what you want, but the RESULT is what gives products their reputations, not the names of said products. The only saving grace of XP is how terrible Vista was received by the public, so in comparison, XP looked much better. And how interesting this is to me because I remember how terrible XP was in the beginning. Vista is like Windows ME -- everyone will be happier when it goes away, and we'll all love Windows 7, as long as it's different than Vista. Unbind our hands, and open up the possibilities and you'll win us over. Stop fixing things that we like just because some restrictive group wants you to (RIAA, MPAA, FBI, CIA, DOJ...etc), and start fixing things we hate -- like how restrictive everything is in Vista.

Security has little to do with forcing us to click OK every ten seconds, because eventually that repetitive task will just happen without any consideration -- much like how EULA's are click-passed, and how nobody EVAR reads em. If you want to keep us secure, take a page from Linux and open up your OS to public scrutiny so that people can perfect it. What are you afraid of? Seriously. Who cares if we find out that you people at Microsoft haven't done any real work since 1990... we ALREADY KNOW THAT. You just keep repainting the same product and sending it out with a bunch of problems so we will all feel your pain and we will all buy into your anti-virus and special editions... your drive for future product updates. We know that you only borked Vista so that people would love XP... and it worked. We loved you again, but we loved the past MS. People aren't stupid... well at least not THAT stupid.

Although it looks like you think we are, especially because of those insane advertisements you have with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Are you nuts???

We also don't want to lose our life savings from lawsuits. Oh and while you're at it... take a close look at the stock market and remember that WE EMPLOY YOU, so you'd better do what we say MSFT or we'll employ someone else... it's only a matter of time, now that the incentive for free OS use is higher than ever!

Re:MSFT (5, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723945)

"If you want to keep us secure, take a page from Linux and open up your OS to public scrutiny so that people can perfect it. What are you afraid of?"

You must be new here

>mfh (56)

or not

Re:MSFT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723951)

Shut the fuck up, or I'll fucking throw a fucking chair at you.

Re:MSFT (2, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724059)

Shut the fuck up, or I'll fucking throw a fucking chair at you.

Oh I suppose I had that one coming. But just think about this for a second, Mr. Ballmer... would you like to be throwing a cardboard box (ie: your new office/home) -- or would you prefer to get your big fat fingers on a nice plush Italian leather chair? Your wealth is intimately linked with the act of listening to the public. We want change, now. Not spare change... we want a major course-correction, globally.

Re:MSFT (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724257)

Ballmer's net worth is 15 billion dollars for the moment. I don't really think his wealth is linked to how Windows is received. He can just as easy say "Fuck You Guys" tomorrow and go live in a condo on the moon.

Re:MSFT (2, Insightful)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724429)

Ballmer's net worth is 15 billion dollars on paper for the moment.

Remind me how it's divested entirely from the Microsoft shares he holds?

Re:MSFT (2, Insightful)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725123)

Ballmer's net worth is 15 billion dollars on paper for the moment.

Remind me how it's divested entirely from the Microsoft shares he holds?

Even if Microsoft stock collapsed to a relatively unthinkable low, Ballmer probably would end up with stock worth north of $100M.

Remember that Microsoft has billions of cash in the bank, a large amount of real property, and no debt. So, unlike many other companies, their stock has a absolute bottom value (it could go lower, but then it would be pushed right back up as people bought it).

Re:MSFT (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725145)

It would be the moment he sold them.

Re:MSFT (3, Interesting)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724151)

Name it what you want, but the RESULT is what gives products their reputations, not the names of said products. The only saving grace of XP is how terrible Vista was received by the public, so in comparison, XP looked much better. And how interesting this is to me because I remember how terrible XP was in the beginning.

I think that's BS. Other than a small subset of people who were upset about activation, XP was pretty good from the get go. SP1 made it good without reservations. (and I don't mean this is a big linux vs Windows vs Mac flamefest) Most people switching to XP had been using 95/98/ME. XP--without reservation--is better than all of them. If you were coming from 2K, it was less of a jump, but still an improvement for most users (imho, I know some people debate this last point).

Re:MSFT (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724923)

Name it what you want, but the RESULT is what gives products their reputations, not the names of said products.

Amen. And think about it... Micro-soft itself is a pretty ho-hum name, in fact it's downright lame. Today, if the company name would be still available, no one in their right mind would give their software firm a name like that, even freelancing consultants wouldn't be so silly as to pick that as their firm's name. But they rose to greatness (in influence and dollars if not reputation for quality), and thus the name lost its lameness and became associated with an extremely succesful tech company.

Microsoft "Innovates" a lot (3, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724925)

Who cares if we find out that you people at Microsoft haven't done any real work since 1990... we ALREADY KNOW THAT.

Nah, their consumer OSes have seen the addition of memory protection. Beore then, Microsoft did some real doesn't-work.

Re:MSFT (2, Informative)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725039)

The security dialog problem is overrated. They only pop up when you'd expect them to pop up. When you're installing things or modifying system wide-settings. Mac OS and Gnome/KDE will do the same thing. The only difference is that Vista doesn't make you reenter your password, it just alerts you that something's up.

Re:MSFT (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725077)

Name it what you want, but the RESULT is what gives products their reputations, not the names of said products.

This is true, but not totally relevant.

Especially for new products, a name is a big part of the first impression they create. A good name can't turn crap into gold, but it can persuade people to try your product and find out whether or not it's any good. And it certainly can help make it easy for people to talk and learn about your product.

Some products succeed based on their technical awesomeness and nothing else. Some products succeed on marketing alone, as anybody who has purchased from late-night TV or an MLM scam knows. But the smart entrepreneur tries to cover all the bases, starting with a good idea well executed, and then properly marketed, sold, and supported.

Re:MSFT (1)

knails (915340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725083)

Although it looks like you think we are, especially because of those insane advertisements you have with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Are you nuts???

Wait, what was wrong with the Gates/Seinfeld Ads? I thought they were hilarious. They didn't change my opinion about MS, Vista, or anything related, though I already use windows with mostly no complaints, and have no problem with Vista.

Microsoft (-1, Troll)

enigmastrat (1254198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723895)

I heard that was Bill Gate's nickname from the ladies at his few years at Harvard... Quote from Bill: "I'll show them Microsoft!"

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724219)

That's funny, I heard they called him "Windows" because he could frequently be spotted peeping through them.

Re:Microsoft (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724685)

Maybe. But who's laughing now :)

His explanation of Google's name is BS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25723919)

He says before Google, all the search engines were engineering names like WebCrawler, Webfinder, Websearcher, etc.

Apparently he never heard of search engines like AltaVista, Yahoo!, Lycos, etc. Seriously? Names are his business and he doesn't remember any of those?

Re:His explanation of Google's name is BS (5, Funny)

chibiace (898665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724787)

man those last ones you said are really from the past, im having trouble remembering them too. when was the last time you heard of yahoo?

Quick, someone mail this article... (5, Funny)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723927)

... to the GIMP devs.

Linux is a sack of shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724019)

Invented by a moron, bought into by idiots.

Re:Quick, someone mail this article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724721)

G-PIMP 1.0 is the first stable release of the Gnu Professional Image Manipulation Program, based off of the GIMP 2.6 series..

Gimp (5, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724795)

Quick, someone mail this article... (Score:4, Funny)

Yes, what you said is funny, but seriously now I had to pitch using a free image suite to a customer who was kinda penny-pinching, and when I suggested that we "bring out the GIMP" the customer started laughing at me, and they became somewhat violent. I ducked the coffee she threw at me, but only after I explained (while dodging numerous other desk utensils) that GIMP stood for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" did the abuse dwindle.

And then she said, "What the hell does a GNU have to do with anything? You people are all fucking crazy!! ARRRRRGHHHHH!!!!" And she had a coronary and passed out from too much bacon and eggs... cholesterol rich, fatty foods, apparently add up over the years.

Why couldn't they call it something like "Expensive Looking Free Graphics Suite" so like people could present it and be cheered for mentioning the product? The customer might have invited me to join her for a cup of coffee instead of hurl the damn thing at me. Although that tends to be reduced to "ELFGS" which sounds equally as annoying.

Let's have a name-fork of the project! I vote for the name "Rez". That way, I could say, "MRS. Customer, we have just what you need in the Rez project, a free graphics utility. I'm not sure what this GIMP project is you keep balking at, but the last guy who brought up that project is a fool. Go with our project instead and we'll use Rez. It sounds cooler."

Of course I'm joking around a little but apart from my exaggeration, this was the level of irritation expressed by said customer in regards to the GIMP moniker.

Re:Gimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25725149)

Let's have a name-fork of the project! I vote for the name "Rez". That way, I could say, "MRS. Customer, we have just what you need in the Rez project, a free graphics utility.

You forgot the most important part. Tell the customer is costs 500.00 per seat annually or 10,000.00 for a one-time site license. Business types do not want to hear free when it comes to software as they think free means unsupported.

Re:Quick, someone mail this article... (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724921)

In general giving Open Source Apps horrible names, and odd Icons to go with it hurts the adoption of open source more then most anything else. First there is no real point except to feed RMS's ego to put G for GNU in its name. If you care what license it is then you read the license (at least the title), otherwise you will download and use it anyways. Next the name and/or the icon should help the person know what the app does. Next the name shouldn't sound like a 3rd party ripoff of a well known brand. No Sorney, Magnetbox, Peniphonics, OpenOffice. All it really does is advertise for your competitor and make you look like you are playing catchup with them, while you may actually be going in a different direction. Finally if you are going to use a name that is kinda unique and can be trademark like firefox you need to be smart like the Firefox team really spread the name out so everyone knows about it and what it does. No it is not easy, big companies make the same mistakes too like Vista. However you should put care in making your project name for your Open Source Project.

Re:Quick, someone mail this article... (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725001)

We'll have to wake them up then, won't we?

the new way: (1)

tyler.willard (944724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723977)

Find a free domain and name your product after it.

Hint: it'll probably be spelt strangely.

Re:the new way: (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724131)

Use different languages. "skami", Lojban for "computer", seems open.

Re:the new way: (5, Funny)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725237)

Yes, by all means someone should start selling a Skami Computer, hopefully via infomercial! I'd recommend filling out the product line with a "Do!Be!Us!" smartphone, a "Krapee" monitor line, the "De-Funk(t)" music player, the "Borkt" series of printers, and the "InnerFierce" wireless networking gear.

But please, if you do this, make sure you set up your "world headquarters" in a semi-abandoned strip mall, and move it every time the landlord kicks you out for non-payment. (And no, you can't ever pay rent when running a scam. A penny stolen is a penny earned.)

The good news is you'll be able to sell Vista on this stuff without increasing your complaint load. Heck, given the target audience, you could probably charge them for two copies and call it Double Vista.

Re:the new way: (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724573)

Hint: it'll probably be spelt strangely.

What do you know? http://www.speltstrangely.com/ [speltstrangely.com] is available!

Re:the new way: (1)

tyler.willard (944724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724745)

Dammit...I know I forgot to do something after that post ;)

Re:the new way: (5, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725085)

Hint: it'll probably be spelt strangely.

What do you know? http://www.speltstrangely.com/ [speltstrangely.com] is available!

Finally a name for my OSS speech recognition project!

Depends on where you've been (2, Funny)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724007)

If the developers hail from a UNIX background there is no mystery. biff, awk, grep, sed. google and twitter seem tame by comparison.

Re:Depends on where you've been (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724579)

If the developers hail from a UNIX background there is no mystery. biff, awk, grep, sed. google and twitter seem tame by comparison.

At least if you say twitter and google to a girl and they won't take it the wrong way.

awk, biff, grep, sed, emacs, du, chmod:
I definitely see a drink thrown in my face and a slap in the future. Even from imaginary ones.

No Copyright For Names (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724017)

> ...free of copyright ... gotchas.

A name cannot have any "copyright gotchas" . Names cannot be protected by copyright.

what about the one that concerns us all... (1, Interesting)

pejyel (1275304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724061)

how could the devs come up with "slashdot" ?

TWAIN (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724077)

As we all know, if you have technology without an interesting name, you can always make an acronym.

Re:TWAIN (2, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724469)

I'm still trying to find funding for my Tamper Indicative Toggle Switch. I even offered to change the name to Authenticated Smart Switch. For some reason, my boss objected to both names.

Re:TWAIN (2, Funny)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724717)

You should stop try to find funding, and just do it. Like liboobs [gnome.org] .

Re:TWAIN (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724875)

Maybe you could call it the Tamper-Avoidance Nominal Detection-Authentication switch?

Windows 7 (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724085)

Microsoft's Mike Nash announced the name this way: "Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore 'Windows 7' just makes sense."

So, has anyone actually figured out exactly what the previous 6 versions of Windows were?

Re:Windows 7 (3, Informative)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724171)

I believe it's based on the official major releases of Windows NT, since the 9x kernel was abandoned.

1. Windows NT 3.1
2. Windows NT 3.5
3. Windows NT 4.0
4. Windows 2000
5. Windows XP
6. Windows Vista
7. Windows 7

Re:Windows 7 (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724449)

No Windows 2003? Or is that not considered a major release of Windows NT?

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724981)

Windows 2003 is the server version of XP. It just wasn't released at the same time.

Re:Windows 7 (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724483)

If you look at the kernel versions of Windows NT [wikipedia.org] , you can see why. Based on what I've heard about Windows 7, it really shouldn't be named 7 but 6.1 as it wasn't really a major revision.

That said both OS X and Windows 7 are rather unoriginal in naming. With OS X, at least they were consistent about the different versions of OS X. Windows NT 3.5 -> Windows NT 4.0 -> Windows 2000 -> Windows XP -> Windows Vista -> Windows 7. Not much consistency there.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724559)

Close... so close...

Windows NT 3.1
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 2000 (NT 5.0)
Windows XP (NT 5.1)
Windows Vista (NT 6.0)
Windows 7 (NT 7.0)

And since W7 is a full version release, it's going to break just as much stuff as Vista did.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724641)

Except MS says the kernel will actually be 6.1.

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724597)

I believe it's actually based on the versioning scheme of the NT Kernel: 2000 was NT kernel 5, XP was actually NT Kernel 5.1 (And many builds of XP will advertise themselves as such). Vista is NT 6, and then Windows/NT Kernel 7

Re:Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724953)

The 9x kernel?

You mean DOS?

Azure? (2, Funny)

jejones (115979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724105)

I figured that they were tired of hearing about the BSOD, and "Azure screen of death" would at least sound nicer.

Re:Azure? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724283)

And the resulting acronym forms the first part of a sentence one might hear from a victim.

Re:Azure? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725155)

It's part of their overall plan to create the "Hooloovoo screen of death", an alien invasion plot where crashing machines generate the invaders.

Second? Try third. (4, Informative)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724123)

Firefox was actually the third name. Its original name was Phoenix (it rose from the ashes of Netscape), but Phoenix Technologies raised a fuss. Then it became Firebird, and the Firebird database team raised a fuss. Then it became Firefox, and Debian didn't like that and called it IceWeasel. Anyone remember the FireSomething plugin that would randomly change the name.

Re:Second? Try third. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724239)

Ubuntu also has a non-firefox-branded fork in the repos. Name? "Web Browser".
(abrowser in the repos)

Debian was ok with Firefox (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724313)

> Then it became Firefox, and Debian didn't like that and called it IceWeasel.

Debian had no objection whatever to calling it Firefox. Mozilla objected to Debian doing so.

MOD PARENT UP (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724609)

Indeed, the parent is right.

It wasn't Debian which had any problems with the name "Firefox"; rather, Mozilla's terms of use for the trademarked name "Firefox" did not allow Debian to ship a version of the browser under that name with patches apply unless they'd received an OK from Mozilla first.

Debian, naturally, was not able and willing to allow an outside party to have that kind of influence on the project; but Mozilla wasn't willing to budge on this, either, so therefore, Debian had to change the name (thereby avoiding the whole trademark issue altogether).

Re:Second? Try third. (4, Informative)

barzok (26681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724335)

Then it became Firefox, and Debian didn't like that and called it IceWeasel.

No, Debian was forced to rename it due to their stance on trademarks.

The Firefox logo is trademarked, so Debian doesn't consider it to be Free and will not include it as part of its distribution. Mozilla claims that using the Firefox name without the official branding is a trademark violation.

Furthermore, Mozilla claims that if Debian runs any patches to the version of Firefox included with Debian distros, it has to run them by Mozilla first for approval.

http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3634591 [internetnews.com]

Re:Second? Try third. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724347)

Then it became Firefox, and Debian didn't like that and called it IceWeasel.

Firefox is trade marked, that is the problem!

Debian strives to be 100% free of legal bullshit!

Re:Second? Try third. (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724397)

The second iteration was actually probably the better, branding-wise.

They were all set -- Firebird for web, Thunderbird for email, Sunbird for calendar -- even things like Songbird for music. I think there were even logos.

Re:Second? Try third. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724433)

Not sure why this is "informative", as I can't possibly imagine that anyone reading Slashdot does not know this already.

Re:Second? Try third. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724817)

Don't forget the Mac/Intel specific incarnation of Firefox known as "minefield."

The twitter name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724353)

Probably wanted to convey the idea of being in many places at once and making sure what you had to say would be heard, no matter what. Over and over and over again.

Oh, and also annoy the hell out of everyone.

What do you guys think?

What? Wait... this is the microblogging service we're talking about, right?

The real travesty (1)

Liath (950770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724363)

10 pages of less text than the average "First POSTO!" and non-photoshopped images to boot. This is worse than reading IDLE

German naming process... (5, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724395)

A couple decades back there was a German man with his own branding/naming company. A Japanese company, not satisfied with their experience for English speaking markets, called him up and asked him to help out with a new car. Naturally, he inquired as to the project timeline, due dates etc.

Nervously, the Japanese marketer replied that they needed something for the following Monday.

After a few moments pause, the German replied "Dat Soon? eh?"

Later that same year he took a trip to London on business. While eating at a local steakhouse, he asked "what's dis here sauce?"

Re:German naming process... (4, Funny)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724553)

I have mod points, but I can't seem to find the "-1 Groan" or "-1 Throw a Tomato" mod options.

Re:German naming process... (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725163)

I get Datsun, but what's the British car brand you're trying to joke about?

Re:German naming process... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25725315)

It's not a car brand. The OP is aiming at Worcestershire Sauce [wikipedia.org] .

Re:German naming process... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725335)

Worcestershire sauce, but knowing German, it took me a while, because it really would have sounded like "Vawt ist here sauce"

Douchebag Tech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724431)

I'd like to use this thread to advertise "Douchebag Tech".

We make speakers to fit in windows to face to others in the neighborhood. We make software that writes songs for acoustic guitar the feigns sensitivity. We also provide fancy ear buds for your favorite MP3 music player. And we also provide BMW and Audi dealership coupons for the well-to-do douchebag that can make payments - we all know that really rich people who can pay cash don't buy shit like that!

We, Douchbag Tech, offer your everyday show-off, low value, fancy tech needs.

TEN pages?! (2, Insightful)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724481)

WTF? No way I'm clicking through that. Not even a fig leaf "print this article"-link there. And for what? A huge picture and three lines of text? Abominable.

Re:TEN pages?! (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724971)

For the most part, the stories aren't even that interesting. Wikipedia... that one's obvious. Windows and Mac OS, the 7th and 10th release. Android... well they bought a company called Android, no discussion of where THEY picked the name. Thinkpad, it just sounded good... Only mildly interesting one was the iPod.

I wonder if the namer ever went to Malta... (1)

StickInTheMud94 (1127619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724593)

The first thing I thought of when I heard about "Windows Azure" was whether mr. placek & co. had ever been to Malta... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azure_Window [wikipedia.org] (I was there last year...it does the word "awesome" justice.)

At least (1)

jslarve (1193417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724607)

..the Slashdot naming people did a great job. It speaks to it's reader base.

For those interested in naming... (1)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724697)

I read Wordcraft [amazon.com] recently, and was highly entertained. It talks about the process of naming and follows a few names in detail, including BlackBerry and a few others.

Thinkpad (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724775)

I thought the Thinkpad was named after IBM decades old corporate slogan, which is THINK [ibm.com] .

Red Hat (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724945)

I am surprised that Red Hat had nothing to do with White Hat and Black Hat Hackers...I always assumed Red Hat was an option C; Not necessarily good, and not necessarily evil.

"Pacific Telesis Group" (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25724951)

What I wanna know is why the idiot(s) who came up with this stinker of a name - Pacific Telesis Group - for Pacific Bell's holding company were able to not only keep their jobs but make out like bandits, to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. That, of course, does not include the expense of re-signing the corporate vehicle fleet, changing stationery, and the like. Guess who got to foot the whole bill? (Forget about GOVERNMENT taxes: we're being "taxed" far worse as consumers by corporate excess and stupidity.)

There's just as much stupidity in evidence in product and DBA names as there is genius; for every brilliant one there's a hundred mediocre ones and more than a few really bad ones. Logo design suffers and benefits about the same. I think this story would have been far more enlightening if it had focused on the boneheaded rather than the brilliant.

A pretty poorly researched article (2, Insightful)

SageinaRage (966293) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725091)

even considering the subject matter. It covers that wikipedia is wiki + encyclopedia, but offers nothing on how wikis got their name (a hawaiian bus system), it just says that android was made by a company named Android, and says that OSX is the 10th mac os, without even bothering to look into the cat names at all. The only one with an actual interesting answer was Red Hat.

Now if we can just (2, Funny)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25725253)

get online news websites to understand how the scrollbars work in a web browser, instead of breaking one 'page' into a dozen small ones that, instead of the whole article loading at once, and then being able to scroll smoothly, instead of having to click next, next, next, and have frustrating pauses while trying to read.

After I read the first 'bit' and realized Id have to click, wait, click, wait to read the rest, I just closed the tab instead of bothering.

Occasionally on sites like that there is a 'printable version' that gives the whole article as one, but lately it seems to just give a 'printable version' of that one bit of the story. /. editors - lets not encourage these sites by linking to them and giving them the ad traffic.

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