Karl Fogel. Article 2 “Choose a good name”

libre software, mswl, mswl-intro, mswl-manage, QuiteSleep

Hi all!!

Continuing with the series of articles about Karl Fogel’s book “Producing Open Source Software“, in this post I’m going to talk about other important thig in every software project, the name that we must put it.

A good name is a very important thing because can give you more opportunities that your project can be most used and has poppularity or your project has little ones.

Following Karl Fogel’s book, a good name should have the next features:

  • Give some idea regarding the central idea and functionality of the project.
  • It must be easy to remember. And is much better that you use an English name, since this language is “the official language” in internet, and all araound IT.
  • Don’t use the same name that other project, and of course be careful with breaking trademarks, or rights.
  • If is possible look at the domains with your project name. Maybe there isn’t a software project with your same name, but a domain that make use of the same name can carry on mistakes when users search about your project. And if you want, you can buy the domain name and prevent this actions, if the one is actually free.

Also I add other features, like choose a short name, more direct than other with two or more words, maybe could be useful use a short description with your name, I mean, for example, use the name “car”, and the description “vehicle with four wheels”, the name can go alone, but for more description can take the description in different cases.

As personal experience, I can talk about my two floss projects:

Karaoke con SMIL, this was my final bachellor project, licensed under GNU GPLv3.

When I did this project, I didn’t know much about free software in general, and I didn’t pay attention with all free software features and the name in this concrete case.

I used the original propose gave by my tutor (tentative proposal name) in Spain, and yes descriptive, but without feeling or hook for other people.

It was a very large name and this make difficult the reach of the project, also the name, in Spain, uses the word “con”, and in don’t English, don’t say nothing.

But, well, is good learn about your fails.

My second floss project, is QuiteSleep, also licensed under GNU GPLv3.

I release this project when I knew more about free software, the steps to do with the release, licenses, etc. and I didn’t make the same wrong that previous case.

I choosed QuiteSleep as the name, because say something about the functionality of the project, uses two words, but I put togheter to make it seems shorter, and with more impact.

Also I look in Internet for the name, and I didn’t find any project with this name, and I thought this name was easy to remember, and regarding the comments that I’ve received along this months, I think I don’t wrong to choose this name.

See you my friends.


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