Forum OpenACS Q&A: Time for a name change?

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
Back when OACS first got started and we were casting about for
a name for the project, I was among those who argued for
keeping the "A" in the project name. Back then, it was not
obvious that the project would significantly fork code from ACS
Classic and, in fact, we needed ArsDigita's support. There was
even some hope that ArsDigita might eventually merge their
code base with ours.

Now is a different story, though. Between AD's shift to Java, their
shift to a non-GPL-compatible license, and their move toward
proprietary software, there really is no reason to hope for
stronger relations with the company; nor is there much benefit to
be gained from it. To the contrary, we risk confusion by
continuing to associate this project with them. Casual observers
from the outside are prone to believe that OACS is just a port of
ACS Classic 4.2 to PostgreSQL when clearly it has already
become more than that. Plus, keeing the "A" in the name
continually invites people to ask when we are going to migrate to
Java and "catch up" with AD. I find myself constantly explaining to
prospective clients why the code fork was a good thing in this
case and why they should consider using a platform that was
abondoned by the company that bears its name.

I propose that we drop the "A" in "OACS" and rename the project
"Open Community System" or "OCS." The acronym is close
enough to the original that people who care will still see it's
heritage, but we lose the AD baggage that automatically comes
with their name. Since we'll undoubtedly be doing some PR work
after the first release, now would be a good time to change the
name if we're going to do it.

What do you think?

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
BTW, ocs.org is taken by a small Christian school in Louisiana,
but ocsproject.org appears to be available.
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Posted by Matthew Burke on
While in general I think name changes aren't a good thing (apologies to M. Stewart), I think in this case I'd have to agree.  Drop the aD baggage and change to OCS.

(Of course we all understand that my opinion is extremely biased, no?)

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Posted by Ben Adida on
I agree with Michael's argument. However, a name change is an
opportunity to create an interesting "brand." OCS isn't very sexy.
Let's hear suggestions. Some thinking has gone into this
already, but community input is one very good way to do this!
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
If we're going to throw the doors wide open for name change
suggestions, then perhaps we should take a step back first and
think about (one- or two-word) descriptors that capture what is
unique and "sexy" about what we have. I, for one, thing that
stressing "community" is important.

What else is unique about this thing that is currently called
OpenACS?

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Posted by Joel Natividad on
Hey Guys,
This could be a good opportunity to really build a "brand". Methinks we should stay away from "generic" names and get something that sticks.

Jowell and I have been kicking around a little web-based community adventure that hasn't reached critical mass.

We could certainly "release" the name to the community, if you want to use it.

It's COM-UNITE.COM - pronounced like communi-teh. It has the word UNITE to connote the community-building aspects of what we had in mind. UNITE (with the accented E) is also the french word for Unity and harks back to the egalitarian aspects of what we're trying to do.

Jowell actually built a site using ACS 4 earlier this year (with the intent to go back to OACS once 4 stabilizes), but its currently down since I just relocated. Of course, we couldn't use the accented E, so we registered com-unite.com. BTW, com-unite.org is still available as well.

This couldn't be a better time for a name change too with the pending release of the new web site.

We could even take the opportunity to jazz up Alex as our mascot (think Alex in French Revolution garb), if not get a new mascot altogether.

What do you think?

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Posted by Adam Farkas on
Just to frame this discussion a little better.

To be successful, a brand name should:

  • be distinctive
  • be easy to pronounce, recognize, recall, and store in memory
  • suggest something about the project's benefits
  • suggest the attributes of the project
  • avoid misleading, nontranslatable, or potentially dysfunctional associations
If you can think of a name that scores highly on all these measures, it will probably be decent. How does "OpenACS" score?

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Posted by Roberto Mello on
I agree with Ben and Adam. We've to change names since the bru-ha-ha with the ADPL (maybe before, can't remember). We've tried to come up with new names, but unsuccessfully.

Would it be too corny to have a name starting with "web"? If not, then we have half the name already :)

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
While OACS is obviously for the web, I don't think "web" conveys
anything particularly distinctive about the project. Everything is for
the web these days. "Com-Unite" is cute but a little too Karl Marx
for my taste.

If "collab" weren't already so overdone, I'd suggest using it as
part of the title. I do like "Open" and would prefer to keep it as part
of the name, if possible.

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
<p>Just to get the juices flowing, I'm going to throw out a bunch
of suggestions. I haven't thought them through carefully or
checked for domain name availability; this is just to get some
reactions:</p>
<ul>
<li>OpenMind</li>
<li>GroupThink</li>
<li>ContactPoint</li>
<li>Communikit</li>
<li>SocioPath (OK, maybe not this one)</li>
<li>LiberTeam</li>
<li>E Pluribus</li>
<li>ThinkerToys</li>
<li>ThinkinLogs</li>
<li>InterComm</li>
<li>CyberspaceStation</li>
<li>WWWidgets</li>
<li>OvalTeam</li>
<li>GroupWorks</li>
</ul>

<p>Obviously, most of these are silly in varying degrees. But
perhaps one of them will start us off in the right direction.</p>

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
<p>A few more:</p>
<ul>
<li>ShareWhere</li>
<li>Agora</li>
<li>KnowPlace</li>
<li>NetWeaver</li>
</ul>
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on

Somebody stop me...

  • NetWorks
  • NetWorking
  • InfiNet
  • NetSetters
  • NetReady
  • NetTogether
  • CoreUs
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Posted by Antonio Laterza on
growmeet
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Posted by javier wilson on
When I come to the board I can see all this posts have been done
by Michael Feldstain, but when I get the email alerts I can only
see the text and no information about who post it, I thouth it was
several people talking and it turns out it's just Michael.

This are the first alerts I get :) sorry if this is normal or
intended behaivour, or if should have posted this somewhere else.

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
I too am usually against name changes, but I think it's appropriate at this time. OACS is just not a good acronym, and OpenACS isn't really that great of a name.

I like the word Open.

I would vote for:

Agora (although it's a little obscure, it sounds good)
Communikit (that's kind of perfect actually)

Perhaps we can narrow this down to five candidates and vote? Does anybody think we shouldn't change the name?

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16: You want sexy? (response to 1)
Posted by Walter McGinnis on
Well, if just want to make it sexier, try this.

Sexy Open Community System - SOCS

Then we could have the following slogan:

It SOCS!

It would probably increase hits on the site, too.

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Posted by Jerry Asher on
Pueblo
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
For those who don't know, "agora" (pronounced AH-go-rah, I
think) is the word for the ancient Greek marketplace where
Socrates hung out. So it has both commerce and
knowledge-sharing connotations. agora.org is taken (though
apparently not in active use), but agoraproject.org is available.
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Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on
I think we should keep OpenACS. By dropping the "A" or renaming the project, the connection to the past is lost. ArsDigita is part of the history of this project and I think we should keep it that way.
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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

The name Agora is growing on me. It's something of a neutral name that doesn't limit the project to what people think of when they hear "community," for example. I've been involved with some commercial software (unrelated to anything ACS/OpenACS) over the past year. It's simply amazing how much of the functionality that is available out of the box with OpenACS is being re-done in these other projects. File storage. Teams and team permissions. Email notifications and reminders. And several other features. Whatever name is chosen should be marketed to indicate that this is a product that is a framework for building collaborative services. That word is perhaps overused, but it conveys more than "community" does. Community almost gives an idea that we're about being a BBS package, but OpenACS is much, much more than that. Rather, it allows people to work together -- as coworkers, friends, teams, opponents, vendor/customer.

All that having been said, perhaps the biggest area of marketing that needs to be addressed is, honestly, Tcl. I really like Tcl, but you'd be surprised at how many snickers I get when I mention that a project the size of OpenACS uses the language. I find that odd, since Tcl is at least as capable as Visual Basic, which is at the core of all those Microsoft-driven ASP sites, and is faster to develop in than, say, Java. But impressions are impressions. What can be done to promote Tcl as an acceptable platform for a real web site?

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21: Relationship to Logo (response to 1)
Posted by Frank Mannix on
You already have a logo of a samoyed dog (I assume it's suppose to be Alex). How about...

  • samoyed.org
  • alex.org
  • OpenSam.org

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Posted by Adam Farkas on
Neophytos --  the problem with keeping the ArsDigita name is that it's causing significant brand confusion.  ArsDigita has created essentially an entirely new platform, with new functionality.  The goals of their new project are radically different than those of the OACS.

So while an homage to history is nice, in this case it may really confuse anyone new to the community.

As an aside, "agora" is already being used ( http://www.w-agora.net/ )

and when i hear it, i immediately think of "agoraphobia".  I guess that's my own problem.

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Posted by David Kuczek on
What about:

alexir.org (from elixir)

openalexir.org

openalex.org (sounds a bit weird maybe)

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
Unfortunately, my first association with Agora was "agoraphobia", fear of public places. But perhaps we could use that to our advantage, and talk about our "competitors" having Agoraphobia ;-)

As for Tcl -- I think it's less of an issue than people think. The reason most of us were drawn to ACS in the first place probably had a lot more to do with Philip's tutorials and book than anything. Someone ranted about this a couple of days ago, and I fully agree: we need to make it easy for the newbie's to get involved in our project.

The name Agora is growing on me too -- I think I'd vote for it.

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Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on
Well, I still think we should keep OpenACS. IMHO, any other word confuses more than it explains. In my mind OpenACS means only one thing -- web collaboration software. If we want to build a brand we should work hard to make OpenACS the best toolkit for building web applications.
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
Actually, the "agoraphobia" thing could work for us. Agoraphobia
means "fear of open spaces" (or, perhaps, Open spaces). So
agora also has an association with Openness. We could even
create a newbie section of the web site called "Overcoming
Agoraphobia."

The fact that there is already an OSS project called "W Agora" is
an issue, but I'm not sure that it's a deal breaker.

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Posted by Walter McGinnis on

If we are talking about a major name change than I don't think it is acceptable to have to use new_name projects.org as a web address. People aren't going to remember to add "projects" to the name, won't reach the site, and the whole purpose is lost.

I don't think that Alex ever caught on as a mascot. I would drop him.

I have a suggestion, lets pay $25k or so to an outside marketing firm to come up with a non-english word that is an allusion to what we really mean and create an ugly logo. I know at least one company that has taken that path...

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
  • Agoraspace
  • Agoraphobe
  • Agoras
  • Agorakit
  • Kid Agora (musical)
  • Agora Construction Kit ACK
  • Agora Construction Set = ACS !!!! (nostalgic)
  • Open Agora Construction Set = OpenACS (historical)
  • Team Agora
  • Agora or Abush (political)
  • Okay, somebody better stop me too. ;)
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Posted by Roberto Mello on
I kind of like "Agora" but it really doesn't say anything about what the project is about. I guess most products out there don't either.

Agora also means "now" in Portuguese (build web applications _agora_ :-)).

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
Plus, if somebody decided to do a Python port they could call it
PythAgoras.
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Posted by Adam Farkas on
just as an exerecise, how would you "classify" OpenACS?  what kind of software is it, if you had to peg it to an existing category?  Using that as part of the name typically helps get the point across.

I'd say "groupware" is probably the most descriptive, and is a term that is easily understood by most developers. ("community" is really nebulous)

"Open" is probably a term i'd also keep.

Open, Groupware... any others?

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Posted by Roberto Mello on
There's another reason to get rid of the ArsDigita in the name of the project. At one point I remember we were afraid that the VCs would come after OpenACS if something happenned to the company and they were looking to sell the intellectual property of ArsDigita.

While it's a good thing to pay homage, and I think we have an obligation to keep a history of the project to acknowledge the hackers at ArsDigita who worked hard at the toolkit, there are legal considerations here.

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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
what about SoftWear ? Software....ready to wear.... suggest no fuss,
functionality, availability
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Posted by Jade Rubick on
It is the unit of currency in Israel. (From Hebrew - to hire). I like that, because it infers we'll all get hired and lots of work :)

ag·o·ra1 (gr-)
  n. pl. ag·o·rae (-r) or ag·o·ras

      A place of congregation, especially an ancient Greek marketplace
(from the Greek)


agora n 1: 100 agorot equal 1 shekel 2: the marketplace in ancient Greece 3: a place of assembly
for the people in ancient Greece [syn: forum, public square]

agora

language: A distributed object-oriented language.

It looks like agora.org is a Korean site, and might be for sale. The email address is mailto:Livedom@in.co.kr or mailto:chch@altavista.co.kr

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Posted by Matthew Burke on
Not only is W-Agora already in use but, "W-Agora is a web-based and customizable forum package. It allows you to install forums,
BBS, guestbooks and all derived things. More than 'just another web BBS ... "  seems to me that if we pick a name with Agora in it there will be entirely too much confusion.
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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
what about CSE or OpenCSE - community sharing experience?

opencse.org is still available

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on

From the "Agoraphobia FAQ":

Q What the heck is an "agora", and why have you named your software after it?

A "Agora" has several meanings, all of which are relevant to this software project and the community that supports it.

In Greek, "agora" means "marketplace/" In fact, in Ancient Athens, the Agora was the open marketplace where Socrates taught his students. So the Agora was an Open place where both commerce and knowledge sharing took place. Our software is an Open platform which supports both commerce and knowledge sharing.

In Portuguese, "agora" means "now." Our software is designed to help you get your web platform up right now by giving you all the building blocks you need, including a unified permission system, unified email alerts, workflow, content management, and many other features.

In Hebrew, "agora" means "to hire." We believe that the best way to find (and hire) competent web programmers is to observe their participation in an actual development community. Here at the Agora web site, you can see who asks good questions, who gives good answers, who participates, and who doesn't. You can see a programmer's entire history in the community. Where else can you get that kind of knowledge of your vendors before you hire them?

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
Agora boosterism aside, Adam's question is a good one. How
do people classify OpenACS? What are it's most important
attributes? So far we have "open" and "groupware" on the table.
Any others?
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Posted by Walter McGinnis on
Some comments on words that have come up in this
discussion:

I think "collaboration" is a fine replacement for "community".

"Framework" should be avoided, it implies the word "unfinished".

Maybe that is just my carpentry background showing through.

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Posted by Jerry Asher on
Some attributes of the ACS: user focused data model, and a platform to build other applications on top of.

That's one reason I mentioned pueblo as a name earlier.  It's less ecommerce-y than agora, but brings to (my) mind the open community, collaborative attributes.  It sounds like "web" too.

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
The word that comes to mind for me is "toolkit". I see OpenACS as a toolkit for building collaborative and ecommerce websites.

I think Agora would have been perfect, but since W-Agora is already taken, I don't want to encroach on their name. I would have killed to see the Agoraphobia FAQ.

Pueblo is a good name, and is memorable.

I liked Communikit also, because it sounds like Communicate and Community Kit at the same time. It implied a toolkit for me.

Another attribute of ACS is rapid development. It seems like it doesn't take very long to build a full-featured site.

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Posted by Klyde Beattie on
I don't personaly think that a name change would be at all benifitial right now. Although this is very powerful software, A lot of work needs to go into pakaging/documentation before we should worry about trivial things such as the name. We will also have to keep in mind that all the links on the internet will point to the wrong page, and no one will recognize the new system as OACS until someone tells them.
I personaly have told over 10 people who are capabile of contributing to OACS about it, and if they get interested, and type openacs.org into thier browser, i want them to find what they are looking for.

Also, InterCom is from Austin Powers.

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Posted by Joel Natividad on
Folks,
Why not create a poll (talking about one of the ACS's community modules) to get the pulse of the group. Isn't OACS.org running on OACS 3.x, which still has the poll functionality.

While we're on the subject of OACS modules, some of the stuff in the toolkit is not heavily utilized in the current website.

Shouldn't we be eating more of our dogfood?

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Posted by Joel Natividad on
Folks,
We can't afford to hire a branding consultant, but you might want to check out this free resource for branding tips from the branding professionals.

IMHO, going with a two to three syllable brand that's phonetically "sticky" is the trick.

The etymology of powerful Internet brands like Apache, Yahoo, Monster, SlashDot and Google where the brands don't necessarily tell the whole story are also instructive.

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Posted by Kenny Chan on
Hi,

I remember back to the days when OACS was ACS/pg, there was a naming suggestions contest or sth. I was suggesting:

FOCUS

(Fully-Opened Community Unifying System) or
(Fully-Opened CommUnity System)

but I didn't get any response from the senior members... :

Sincerely,

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Posted by S. Y. on
I've always liked YADA (Yet Another Dumb Acronym), but that's probably already taken. ;-)

Joel is right: more often than now, the most powerful brand names are very short and phonetically strong. It's not limited to Internet stuff. The classic example is George Eastman's "Kodak". You need to come up with short, phonetically simple names like Starbuck's, Nike, Amazon, Apple, Coke, etc. In fact, you're better off with a short, easy-to-remember acronym (GM, HP, IBM, CNN) rather than a slightly longer name. (Heck, I personally think that part of Quokka.com's failure was due to the fact that nobody could even remember how to spell the damned site's name.) Then again, all of those companies mentioned have spent billions on branding, marketing, advertising, etc.

Personally, I think the "Open" part can be tossed since it no longer it no longer has the same meaning as when OpenACS needed to be differentiated from ACS Classic. Also, if you did an alphabetical listing or search on community toolkits, etc. anything with "Open" would get piled in with the rest of the billion other things called OpenWidget, OpenFooBar, OpenCollabToolBox, etc.

While "collaboration" is a nice little square on your buzzword bingo card, it has less meaning to lots of folks who don't collaborate whatsoever on ACS/OpenACS sites. The photo.net bboard is mostly a camera equipment chat room and Wineaccess.com was never much about collaboration (well, the sites are more about recreation than work, so the "labor" part of "collaboration" doesn't have much place there). Plus, I think if you asked a hundred people to spell "collaboration" and "community" more people would get the first one wrong.

My $0.02, which is a relatively accurate valuation of my opinion.

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Posted by S. Y. on
Oh yes, I forgot.

If there's any right time to make a clean split from ArsDigita, it is now. The founder is gone (along with his vision), the mission statement has changed, the toolkit is different, etc. Ultimately you will be better off in the long run and in the short run, a Google search will find OpenACS anyhow.

The 'net (and business in general) has a very short memory. In a year or so, no one will care if you changed your name from Architext to Excite or Mosaic Communications to Netscape (or you are now called Novartis, Verizon, or Accenture).

I don't know the state of OpenACS 4, but I'm assuming that there still is some convention in using ArsDigita-related stuff out of habit (e.g., ad_my_neato_proc_name).

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Posted by Mike Sisk on
How about DBCS, short for:

The Database Backed Community System, or if you prefer:

The Don Baccus Community System.

Or how about just Bacc(h)us--as in the god of wine? It's a catchy name for a project with a good tie in--sort of like Linux. Here's (http://theglobetrotters.com/images/ europe/florence/bacusbig.jpg) a picture that could be our new logo (warning--this link might be offensive to some).

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Posted by Jun Yamog on
Hi,

I agree with Joel and Sean that it must be short and 2 syllables.  We are going to create a brand not some acronym that explains the toolkit.  What does "Java" had to with a language?  Also like Sean we must drop the "Open".  We dont need to emphasize Open or Community once the brand is accosiated with this great Open Community Toolkit.

Also the ad_my_neato_proc_name mentioned by Sean is something that will be hard to remove, much like ns_my_neato_proc was never changed on Aolserver which used to be naviserver (is that spelling correct?).
I vote to change the name to remove the current confusion with aD.  I vote the name to be simple and unrelated to project like "Coke, Kodak, Java, etc."  Linux... what the heck does the Linux word relate to a kernel. They mean nothing we just need to finding something easy to remember and nobody has used it like "ximian".Bluetooth....Viagra

I am sorry that I am not good at names but here are my weird suggestions.

- Josean (Joel + Sean hehehe)

- Ogora (since Agora is getting some votes here)

- Alexure (after Alex)

- Evander (after Eve Anderson she will probably not mind)

- PhilGee (gives the name history and easy to pronounce)

- Crossminds

- Catapult (OACS does catapult me ahead of other developers)

- Blue Digits

- Starter

- Piston (just like an engine)

- Head Start - this looks good as it conveys the real benefit of this tool kit.

Hmmm I think I like "Head Start" its simple and conveys the real advantage of OACS.  Its a head start on building web application.  The  downsides are its only applicable in English and maybe confused with other stuff.

Head Start - gives you a head start in building web applications.

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on
Just closing a tag.
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Posted by Antonio Laterza on
Sorry,
what about ideagora?
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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
what about IDORA
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Posted by Svet Ivantchev on
Just to point that there is one Spanish company called I+D Agora (i.e. Agora R&D) known in Spain just as "Agora" which is Linux based and also produces the Debian Citius distrubution. I don't know is this is significant problem but I don't like the idea to have to explain that we are not Agora's subcompany :-(.
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Posted by Adam Farkas on
If you're looking for simple, catchy names, you could just call it "Oasis", which is how I read "OACS" when ever i see it, anyway.

Actually, many OACS sites are like online watering holes anyway, so I guess it would't be that far off.

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Posted by Tapiwa Sibanda on
I like oasis. I am not sure whether the domain names are available (quite unlikely), but oasis is not too far removed from OACS (a patchy server went on to become Apache).
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Posted by Tapiwa Sibanda on
just done a bit of homework

oasis.org is not available (no surprise there)
4oasis.org is available
oasis4.org/net/com is available (although quite limiting)
oacs.org is not available
oacs.net is

I think maybe we should stick to oacs, and just pronounce it oasis. I do not think too many people would complain about oacs.net as the domain. Many years from now, people will wonder what the letters meant, (who remembers that esso comes from S-O or Standard Oil? DOS became doss. IBM? NCR? HSBC?)

If you ask me, the A in oacs, stands for Asskickin' although I am not so sure that that will fly with the suits :)

On second thoughts, oasis4 is not so limiting. Who remembers OS/2 and Lotus 123?? The new name could be oasis4 (harking to the oacs4 that finally severed ties with aD), and have different versions, begining with version 1.0

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
Oasis sounds good to me. It preserves the past for those who want that, and gives us a good catchy name for the rest of us.

I think we should take oasis4.org  (This is version 4 after all!)

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Wow!  Look what happens when I decide to take a couple of days off...

Coincidently I was also thinking about this being a good time for a name change, too.  My motivation is strictly due to wanting to avoid confusion with aD's current Java-based toolkit.  If we're at 4.2 now, what happens when we release a couple more versions?  Will people think that OpenACS 4.6 is a Postgres port of aD's ACS 4.6 (which is written in Java)?

Frankly I've never understood why a rewrite from Tcl to Java managed to be released as a simple minor version bump.  Yes, the datamodel's virtually unchanged blah blah blah but still...

Anyway, I was thinking that we might want to rename our toolkit and release it as version 1.0.  So upon my return, what do I find?  A discussion about the name change.

It's a pity about Agora being taken but the existing agora is too close to what we do for us to want to use it.

The name exercise if fun.  I kind of like Pueblo because it does imply  the functionality of the community-building technology of the toolkit itself, as well as the community which work on and with the toolkit.

But generic names like "Pueblo" are often used - are we sure there's not some random little company named "Pueblo Software" lurking in New Mexico somewhere, etc?

Let's keep the creative juices flowing.  If we end up with two or three or more names with a strong following we could set up a poll, sure.

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Posted by David Geilhufe on
I like Kenny's FOCUS acronym simply cause it has the best branding potential so far... things like Pueblo and Agora are a little esoteric--they have to be explained.

I really love the "Open" part of OpenACS. I think that part is critical, plus it is likely that a URL like www.open???.org would be available.

So I was thinking of things like:
openfocus (but the open part is redundant in the acronym)
openagora (but again... agora is such a general term)
opencs (Open Community System- bland, but clear)
openct (Open Community Toolkit)

My mind seems to be taking this down the bland path... anyone have more interesting open??? names?

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

Can anything be done with the Latin term collaborare (which means collaborate or cooperate)? As it is, it would be difficult for people to remember. Good alternatives would be words somehow related to synergy, synergism, or synergos.

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Posted by Stan Kaufman on
Perhaps these are entirely too pedestrian, but they're currently available and directly self-explanatory:
  • open-tools.com
  • open-tools.org
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Posted by Joel Natividad on
Some idears:

After some Japanimation characters (like mozilla after godzilla)

  • Daimos
  • Voltes
  • Mazinger
  • Optimus
  • Or maybe, a character from the Asimov Foundation Series:
    • Olivaw - the super-robot that became humanity's caretaker
    • HariSeldon
    • Seldon
    • Galaxia
    • Elijah
    • Demerzel
    • Eto - catchy!
    • Trantor - the capital world of the Galactic Empire
    • Terminus
    • Kyrt - witty!
    • Sark - sexy!
    • Or maybe we can do something with the Lord of the Rings characters:
      • Gandalf - the wizard
      • Frodo
      • Arwen
      • Aragorn
      • Doing name association with these characters can also help us with the mascot as well. Also, these names have some cachet already and a prebuilt story which we can tailor to OACS (e.g. Daimos is the martial-arts robot, we are the martial arts community toolkit; Gandalf is the Merlin of TLOTR, you can work some magic with our toolkit; Olivaw is humanity's robot caretaker, our toolkit will allow you to take care of your community - cheesy, but you get my drift)

        I know they have nothing to do with the community toolkit, but IMHO, most of the world's powerful brands don't really tell anything about what they do - they just roll of the tongue easily and just stick with you.

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Posted by good bye on
I'm pretty sure any huge research-oriented public university in the
united states has an old VAX cluster somewhere in the
basement of the physics building with machines named "frodo,
bilbo, and gandalf."

The Tolkien names have too much of an association with
bearded, trench-coat-wearing, renaissanse-faire attending,
bastard-operator-from-hell system administrators to be good
choices. (no offense to the members of the community into
Dungeons and Dragons and brewing your own mead)

That said, Liv Tyler is attractive, and "Arwen" is easy to say and
remember...

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Posted by Roberto Mello on
Here at USU we have a VAX/VMS cluster that still manages all our incoming mail. The cluster nodes are named after the 7 dwarves: grumpy, sneezy, etc. (here's yet another name suggestion)

Although the university is not huge, it sure is research oriented.

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Posted by Jonathan Ellis on
So far I like Focus (but not FOCUS), Oasis, Catapult.
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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
FOCUS is also the name for a very well known german weekly
www.focus.de
It will be a bit like naming the software Times, or Newsweek
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Posted by S. Y. on
Actually most of the Tolkien names (as well as Star Trek) are in the standard list of passwords that crackers use to break into boxes. As Rolf mentioned, those names are generally not seen in the best of light when used in a computing/information technology context.

That said, my vote would go to the megababe Arwen, and not to some bearded geezer in a floppy hat. Besides that, Gandalf Technologies was a Canadian ISDN modem company that flamed out in the mid 1990s. Might be bad karma.

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Posted by Ryan Campbell on
I'd just like to express my opposition to changing the mascot, as a few have suggested.  The name change seems warranted due to marketing and usability concerns, but to me, *our* mascot is woven into the very fabric of the OACS community.  The quirky smile of that big white dog gives one a sense of friendliness and ease of use that no scion of Tolkien could hope to express.
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69: Shining examples (response to 1)
Posted by Ryan Campbell on
The folks over in the Apache Jakarta project seem to do a decent job of naming their projects. Some of the better ones satisfy the sage advice that Sean & Adam have voiced above:

Alexandria
Ant
Avalon
Cactus
James
Jetspeed
Slide
Struts
Tomcat
Turbine
Velocity

It's interesting to note that tomcat.org takes you to a non-descript French site, while slide.org ends up at some kind of Spanish ecommerce site. The point being, the name was chosen on it's qualities as a brand, not on the basis of an available domain name. Besides, if people don't know the URL, they'll use Google. You just need to make sure the brand itself is easy to spell and remember.

To bad Alexandria is taken ... :-)

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Posted by Patrick Giagnocavo on
Focus is part of a mainframe product as well -they have addons like FOCUSbuilder etc. too.

I would suggest that guidelines include something short, and obvious.  Apple named their new product something cute like Macintosh.  Microsoft went for the dimwitted obvious and ended up with Windows.

Using a cute name or one that has its origins in an inside joke is probably bad.  It should be short, at most 3 syllables.  It should have the same pronunciation (or at least, no bad or insulting meanings) in most languages, including English, German, French and Japanese.

What does this community want to emphasize?  That it is a toolkit (use kit, works, tool)?  That it emphasizes community (pueblo, village, plaza, commons)?  Rapid development (rad, rapid, quick, wiki, fast, speedy)?  That everything is integrated due to the same user model used across applications (integra- , etc.)

I suggest that the "product dimensions" that should be emphasized be mentioned as well.

I will admit being partial to Latin-based words, if only that this ensures similar meaning and pronunciation among English/French/German/Spanish etc.  No doubt an actual Latin scholar will jump on me for saying this.

My suggestions would be along the lines of words involving Custodium, (in the sense of being a custodian of a site), Curator (like art curator in a museum), something-via like say ContentVia or CommunityVia (or even PuebloVia?), Civitas (city), Vox (voice), Liber (freedom), along with prefix and suffix words like higher, better , faster, etc.

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Posted by S. Y. on
I'll comment on Patrick's observations here. If there's *one* thing that Apple Computer Inc. will give to posterity, it's a corporate identity thing (name, logo, industrial design) that belies what ordinary humans would consider "sensible marketing".

Name a computer company after a fruit. Insist on a really expensive seven-color logo. Force some really bad hardware down consumers' throats (original iMac mouse). Build the definitive computer user interface guidelines. Buck the trends by running the 1984 commercial (still a milestone in the advertising community), name your product line incorrectly (Macintosh is not an apple, McIntosh is). Remember to "Think different" from time to time (including an ad campaign that includes guys like Richard Feynman and Richard Branson).

Apple is one of the supreme innovators in marketing. There are only a handful of companies on this planet that can be represented by their logos. Nike and Apple are two.

Having a cutesy logo/name isn't a bad thing, despite what Patrick thinks.

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Posted by Patrick Giagnocavo on
Sean, there is plenty of room for a wide variety of perspectives when it comes to marketing :-)

Even Apple's wonderful marketing hasn't saved it from near-annihilation followed by a recovery.  The one thing that Apple has that no one else does is HyperCard, and what have they done with that lately?

In terms of marketshare it has lost ground to IBM and Microsoft.  Maybe this would have happened anyway.

I would just like to point out that marketing is more than branding.  Marketing should be able to produce measurable, specific results at least some of the time.

I guess that should maybe be a goal of any re-naming strategy - does it result in better ratings on google?  More PR from Linux-friendly and Web design media outlets?  Etc.

Sean, maybe you could comment on what we should expect if a renaming/rebranding effort goes forward.

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Posted by S. Y. on
Personally, I enjoy Latin-related names, but it ultimately comes down to a decision by the OpenACS gatekeepers/junta to decide what the corporate identity slant of this open source project is to be.

Only when that decision is made will it be feasible to propose project names.

Patrick doesn't like the cutesy, Apple thing. Maybe someone else wants the no-nonsense German luxury auto (BMW 325i, Mercedes-Benz E320, Audio A6) thing. Maybe someone else wants the nonsensical stuff (e.g., Toyota Cressida - yes, let's name our product after one of the biggest bitches in Greek theater). That's fine, my vote doesn't count any more than anyone else's, and probably should count for less.

Pentium was a nice Latin-y name. It was so good that Intel decided that whatever the exorbitant amount that they paid to the branding consultants they were going to get their money's worth, hence: Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, and Pentium 4.

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Posted by S. Y. on
I agree. A company such as Apple can blame far more things than a couple of stumbles in their branding for their near demise.

Comparing Apple and OpenACS isn't really fair. People here will eventually have to settle for a certain level of marketing. OpenACS is an open source project, not Coca-Cola or Nike.

I'm unclear what would happen if a rebranding effort actually goes forward. I haven't been keeping up to date on what the OpenACS gatekeepers/junta have planned for the software in the near and long term. Ask me in 6 mos./1 yr.

Ultimately, it probably hinges on how the OpenACS Junta perceive the future of their toolkit. Is it something to be "sold" to IT managers? Is it pure UNIX geekware? ("Hi, I'm a university CS guy working at 3 A.M. on this toolkit because that's all I do and I want other people awake at 3 A.M. to download it and tell me how neat it is to load it onto their systems.").

I think once this decision is made, there will be more consistency in the documentation quality and a more pointed focus to this bboard. Heck, the ArsDigita bboard has continued to evolve as the status of the ACS toolkit has evolved and changed. If you haven't visited the ArsDigita bboards recently, you should, just to see how the latest ArsDigita changes affected the spirit of the bboard.

This concludes my comments on this thread.

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

I agree with the thought(s) that the name is, in many ways, what you make of it. Red Hat took a name that seems to have little to do with anything and turned it into something synonymous with Linux and open source products.

In the vein of Apache, we could consider doing something with OACS. Oaks and oak are already taken in the .com and .org domains, but oaksweb is available in both. (OACS becomes "oaks", pronounced the same way, is the thinking here.) The genus for an oak tree is Quercus, but the domain name could be a problem. Other possibilities:

  • Rubra - A red oak is Quercus rubra
  • Lyrata - Water white oak is Quercus lyrata
  • Enceno - another name for Coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia

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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
I like just Oak, or Oaks. It sounds good and what could follow is a
a story of how great Oak Trees are... Have you ever seen them ?...
especially the really old ones. They live for hundrends and hundreds
of years. They are can be very lonely trees, but yet so welcoming.
Yeah.... I am won over anything to do with oaks... for me the name
is inspiring.... It's like a metaphor of how the things I want to do
in life should be like....maybe I am going to far... but maybe other
folks think like this too...OACS....Oaks.... the translation in my
opinion is obvious
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Posted by Janine Ohmer on
I've been thinking about this over the last couple of days, and FWIW here's my $0.02:

I think that the types of end-customers for us commercial houses vary so much that it would be tough to come up with a brand that would appeal to all of them. Something a small non-profit would find appealing would probably turn off a largish corporate entity, and vice versa. So my suggestion is that we (or you, since I haven't thought of any good name ideas yet) come up with a name that gives a mental image of what the toolkit does, and let those of us who are trying to make money with this thing build the brands that will appeal to our particular market segment. This approach also works for the non-commercial users, those who are interested in the toolkit just because it's cool and they can contribute to it.

That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be something dry and boring (sorry, Michael! :) like OCS. Of the current suggestions I think I like Pueblo best, though Don's probably right that it's already overused, because it conveys the idea of a self-sufficient, fully-functional village where people spend time, communicate among themselves and even shop.

Also, although Mike's suggestion was mostly meant to be a joke, I rather like Bacchus; I believe he was the god of gatherings and social activity and enjoying life, not just drunkenness, and for those of us on the inside it has a nice inside joke to go along with it. :)

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Posted by Adam Farkas on
Back in the day, i jokingly suggested to the gatekeepers that they change the name to "AdidaWoven" or "Bacchanalia". They did not seem amused :-)

Regardless, I guess my question for everyone is where do they see OACS heading? Will it be used in more of a "professional" setting going forward? That is, will a great many folks be using it as part of their consulting gigs? If so, wouldn't a "functional" name be more useful when pitching clients? ("We use the Open Community System platform to build out sites..." versus "We use bacchanalia, community system of the drunken gods...")

phpgroupware has come a long way in a short period of time with a name that is both functional, _and_ is associated with another popular technology.

Perhaps a name that's a near-anacronym (like apache) would be the most useful; that way, when pitching a client you can expand the acronym, but in common parlance, you can use the abbreviation. Ie, OACS = Open Architecture Community System, versus "Oaks' or "Oasis" or whatever...

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Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on
"OACS = Open Architecture Community System" sounds good to me.
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Posted by Jun Yamog on
Hmmm....

I think OACS (Open Architecture Community System) of Adam is pretty
ok.  Or something like Oaks.  OACS is not a great deviation but it
does accomplish our goal to remove the accossiation of aD's current
toolkit.

My vote is for Oaks its simple and nice.  We really need to make it
simple just like Sean and Joel pointed out.

Hey Joel,

Based from your suggestions it seems you have a chance of .... Are
you Pinoy?

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Personally, I enjoy Latin-related names, but it ultimately comes down to a decision by the OpenACS gatekeepers/junta to decide what the corporate identity slant of this open source project is to be.

Only when that decision is made will it be feasible to propose project names.

Huh? No, it is really up to the community. We need to figure out some way to reach a decision since clearly not everyone agrees with every name proposal. A truly outstanding name suggestion will probably result in an obvious consensus, though, and if that become true the process for reaching a decision will have defined itself.

One thing worth pointing out, though. Retention of our current logo and URL by doing a simple switch from "ArsDigita" to "Architecture" is appealing because experience shows that renaming and rebranding is an expensive proposition. Going to a name like "Pueblo" (which I still like) would require a lot of ongoing explanation - "oh, it's the new name for OpenACS" - and we don't really have many resources (only volunteers) to publicize a name change.

I have personal business experience of trying to do a name change and it wasn't a very pleasant one. It just confuses customers. We had no choice in the matter, for reasons similar to those raised here, actually, and based the new name on the old. But the old name was was easy to turn into an acronym ("OMSI") while the new one wasn't. Bad idea.

So maybe plain-old "OACS" pronounced "Oaks", while boring and prosaic, would be the easiest thing to pull off.

Could we get away with releasing "OACS 1.0" ? I think changing the version number will do as much as anything else to emphasize that we're not going to be issuing a Postgres port of ACS 4.6 (Java) on our fourth minor-version number release.

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Posted by Jonathan Ellis on
But if OACS 1.0 is released, "superceding" 3.2.5?  That's confusing, even if you explain that the A in the one case is Architecture and in the other ArsDigita.  If you want to release as 1.0 it should probably have a name sufficiently different to avoid this confusion.
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Posted by Jade Rubick on
I think we could rename it Oasis 1.0 or Oaks 1.0 (I prefer Oasis),
and that would contain enough of a link to the past that it wouldn't
lose people, but would sound sufficiently different that we'll be
able to move on.

It's kind of like Tcl being pronounced Tickle, except we actually
rename it Tickle. Wouldn't that have been a better name anyway?
:-)

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Oasis isn't bad.  Pity about the domain names not being available.  But of course we could be OpenACS.org, that distributes our old OpenACS 3.2.5 and our new Oasis 1.0, chuckling to ourselves about the connection.

In other words the organization and the product don't have to have the same name.  It would allow us to keep logo and URL intact.

I don't like "Oasis4" because tying a version number into the name doesn't make much sense IMO.  Also I think "Oasis 1.0" better describes the state of the toolkit technology (and our relationship to it) than "4.x".

More thoughts?  Can Oasis be an acronym? (Open Architecture ... that's as far as I get).  Doesn't need to be but clever acronyms are fun.

If nothing else, this is an entertaining thread...

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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
Oasis is quite a well used name... in my view..;).. First is a brand
of sugary fruit (well fruit traces anyway) made by Coca Cola. I
tried to go to their site to get the url, but whenever I type
www.coca-cola.com, or www.cocacola.com, or www.coke.com... it
trashes my browser (Konqueror)...weird.
Also it was (is) quite a famous band here in UK. I didn't like them
very much, but at some point they were considered to be the next
Beatles. They rised high and fast... but went down as quickly. I
haven't heard of them much lately...
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Posted by Pavel Boghita on
OASIS = Open Architecture Super(ior) Integrated Systems... something
like that... ;)
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Posted by Don Baccus on
Tom Jackson pointed out in e-mail to me that "oacsys.com/org/net" and "oaisys.org" are available.  That's another possible approach, i.e. something that clearly is pronounced "oasis" but spelled in such a way that various domain names are available.

Just thought I'd toss out those ideas for discussion, too.

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Posted by carl garland on

I think Don's point about the difficulty / confusion that accompanies any name change should not be understated. With that in mind I like keeping the OACS and changing the official A to Architecture. I also like the idea of changing pronounciation to "oaks". We could have an evolving icon of the state of "oacs" and an animated gif story ... the new release would be a seedling and as time goes on the tree/icon could grow with each release. The seedling could have started as a seed/branch that dropped off our neighbor "AD" tree. In addition when people ask didn't it used to be Arsdigita we could have an inside joke and make the A stand for different things (unofficially) ie ... this month its Asskicking next month may be Alchemistic.

All fun aside I think that naming this version 1.0 may represent problems. Ever try to sell 1.0 to mgmt or any potential client. Lots of coders as well steer clear of any 1.x release. Although if we do name the release x.0 coders understand that it is new branch so may have problems. I propose making the version 5.0 bypassing 4 altogether. Considering the dramatic changes in code and way things work compared to 3.x I don't think this is a big deal. The code has a lot of history and maturity even if it is a x.0 release. In addition we could use the Roman V and make 5.0 release stand for victory.

Also as time goes by we could even bring Alex back into logo as it grows ;)
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Posted by Jun Yamog on
I think OACS pronounced as Oaks will be a good balance.  Also I was kinda liking the idea of 1.0, but Carl is right.  I think we should gun for 5.0.

... Oaks five point o.... hmmm sounds good.

Jun

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Posted by G. Armour Van Horn on
I have to agree that name changes are disruptive and difficult, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. Whatever name is chosen is going to need a lot of support, I really don't think we have a lot of mindshare "out there" right now with the current name.

It strikes me that what OpenACS does is build enterprise web sites. There are a number of players out there, I understand BEA is the biggest of them. None of them have a lot of name recognition, and I think all of them are hugely expensive. Because of the current general interest in open source solutions I suspect that we could come up with a reasonably effective PR campaign without a whole lot of expense once the new version is named, available, and documented to the point that reasonably competent web developers (not programmers) have a chance to go to the website, find the code, and get it running. I know there are thousands of folks that have sites that have grown to be too large to keep developing in Dreamweaver that would love to have something affordable to move up to. I think magazine editors know this too.

Because this wide effort has not yet been made, I don't think it hurts much to change the name now. Two months from now might well be a disaster.

As much as I believe in community building, and as much as I think that community building is a magnificent way to build and grow a commercial site, I'm not sure the business community really groks that. They can be taught to use those features (bulletin boards, mutual support fora, spam programs) but they aren't the things that will get them in the door. An inexpensive tool that lets them build maintainable advanced data-backed sites will.

I like the sounds of CommuniKit, but I don't think it has the tone we'll need. The idea of Oasis V was good, reminded me of a small but succesful database program called Omnis 7 that has been around for a very long time. I think we need something short and pithy to start with, something for which Advanced Community System would be a subtitle.

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on

It strikes me that what OpenACS does is build enterprise web sites. There are a number of players out there, I understand BEA is the biggest of them. None of them have a lot of name recognition, and I think all of them are hugely expensive. Because of the current general interest in open source solutions I suspect that we could come up with a reasonably effective PR campaign without a whole lot of expense once the new version is named, available, and documented to the point that reasonably competent web developers (not programmers) have a chance to go to the website, find the code, and get it running. I know there are thousands of folks that have sites that have grown to be too large to keep developing in Dreamweaver that would love to have something affordable to move up to. I think magazine editors know this too.

I don't think this is an accurate assessment either of the enterprise market or of OpenACS' potential niche in it. While it is true that there is no dominant player in the application server market, it is no longer true that the top products (including BEA, Websphere, and iPlanet) don't have a lot of name recognition. This is a very tight and competitive market. Furthermore, what enterprise organizations are looking for (and I know because some of these guys are my clients) is the size and quality of the professional support services available behind the toolkit of choice. If we go after this space, we have to be able to match, say, IBM for tookit support. Forget it. If you want to go after enterprise (and it's by no means obvious that enterprise is the largest or best market for OACS), then you have to find a specific niche rather than going head-to-head against the big money.

As much as I believe in community building, and as much as I think that community building is a magnificent way to build and grow a commercial site, I'm not sure the business community really groks that. They can be taught to use those features (bulletin boards, mutual support fora, spam programs) but they aren't the things that will get them in the door. An inexpensive tool that lets them build maintainable advanced data-backed sites will.

I couldn't disagree more. Building database-backed web sites is a solved problem. You can do it with ASPs, ColdFusion, WebObjects, mod_perl...you name it. Is OpenACS a better and more efficient solution than these others? Sure, in some cases. But it's not obviously superior enough to overcome marketing and support issues when going after the enterprise market. (You might have a better case to make for small to mid-sized organizations, though.)

On the other hand, eLearning and knowledge management are hot topics right now and, unlike the application server market, these *aren't* solved problems yet (although they really should be). Companies are starting to pay big bucks for these sorts of solutions. Cisco's CEO is a huge champion of eLearning. Microsoft and Oracle are arguing that they have knowledge management solutions. (They don't, but that's not the point.) OACS' strong heritage as a platform for collaboration gives us a real (but swiftly diminishing) advantage in this market niche.

Again, though, it's not clear that the OACS community wants to target enterprise with its marketing efforts. I personally favor this market because I think there's a huge opportunity there and because it happens to by the market where I make my living. However, I suspect it is *not* that natural market for many of the developers who put their blood, sweat, and tears into developing the toolkit.

On the topic of finding an original name, if we decide that we can't take a name unless it has a super-easy URL with it and has not been used by *anybody* then we'll never get a good name. There are just too many people with too many named products out there. I don't think, for example, the fact that somewhere out in the universe there might exist a Pueblo Software company is adequate reason to discard the name "Pueblo." I'm not even sure that the fact that there is an Open Source bboard called "w-agora" is enough reason to drop "Agora," although it's a significantly more serious reason than the ones given so far against Pueblo. These factors are not all-or-nothing deciders; they are just some of the data points we need to consider.

Lastly, I do think we need to keep talking about what facets we want to emphasize in OACS and to whom we want to market. Although we are virtually guaranteed not to get unanymous agreement, we need to have arrive at something like a consensus about the very basic marketing thrust. If we're not marketing to someone, then we're marketing to no-one.

/$.02
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Posted by Jamie Ross on
Wow, this thread has taken off quickly.  I guess I like having "Open" in the name which fits in with other open source projects.  OpenWeb?

I also like Pueblo (being from the southwest) as it implies a living community which builds and expands in response to the needs of its people.

Oasis is also nice and short and I like the implication of a pleasant escape from the expensive troublesome commercial toolkits

Agora doesnt do anything for me..

here are some ones that come to mind:

WebWorks
DigitalWorld
Networld
OpenWave

anyway.. just a few thoughts to toss into the hat

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Posted by Grigor Monovski on
Taking Adam's thinking a step further:

Datadriven
Open
Groupware

Conveys the essential... sounds suits-friendly... No? ...also a complete departure from OACS, if that's what people would finally want.

Can be put next to Alex, like in the current logo, so that Alex can still hang around (although I would use a more stylized version, this one is a bit too cartoonish, I think). And there goes the tradition, even without OACS...

Can be used abbreviated:  DOG 5.0 / Powered by DOG / DOG Powered ...

Text has square boundaries in a font like Times New Roman (would look good in a boxed logo of some sort), or, in a fixed pitch font, like Courier New (which makes "Datadriven" to appear longer), if only text (no box) is used, like if next to Alex.

But nothing's perfect: the website is definitely a problem, also the "it's too generic" argument, and then "DOG 5.0" might just sound too rough/unserious/slangish to some, I'm sure people would think of other problems too (not to mention the cat lovers point of view...)
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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on
<P>Sadly, I fear "DOG" could have some problems in English. "I used that software, and it was a real dog," would indicate that the product performs poorly.

<P>URL-wise, both oaksweb.com/org and puebloweb.com/org are available.

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
It might be worthwhile for some of us to ask our more trusted
clients for their opinions. We may not be the best judges of what
will appeal to the people with the dollars.
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Posted by Don Baccus on
This last is a good point ... asking clients would at least give us a different perspective.

"dog" is a non-starter due to its meaning in American slang as was pointed out above.

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Posted by Janine Ohmer on
There is a Pueblo Software, according to google, at pueblo-systems.com.  However, their site doesn't come up.  The cached copy shows that they were working on two software packages, one for a restaurant's take-out business and the other for estimating print jobs.  Neither is likely to be confused with us, if the company exists anymore at all.  I didn't see anything else in the top hits which would be at all likely to be confusing to anyone.

So, Pueblo still gets my vote.

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Posted by G. Armour Van Horn on
Am I the only one for whom "Pueblo" will always mean the US naval intelligence vessel captured by North Korea in 1968?
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Posted by Paul Sharples on
As a Brit, I was never exposed to Spanish at school. Hence, the name "Pueblo" is pretty meaningless to me. There could well be several nuances embodied within this name but I cannot see them in the same way that an average AOL subscriber wouldn't "get" an in-joke about, say, Scott McNealy (aka the Toothsome Fairy - ahahahaha! Gets me every time...)

It's not clear to me from this thread so far whether there will be a shortlist of names on which we can all vote or whether a secret cabal will read every comment and pick the one with the most persuasive argument. Any calls for due process appear to be drowned out by everybody's favourite suggestion.

... which is why I'm going to add to the noise. But first, some points of view with which to frame my suggestion.

I wholly condemn any use of the word "Open" in the new name. Any tourist who happens on the project website will be able to determine the openness of it in short order, and there are too many bad memories of the "open" systems of the 80s. I agree with Michael that it made sense in the beginning to identify the project as ACS-Classic-with-a-twist and that the situation is different today. If we insist of stating the obvious and calling it Openwhatever, then I should always refer to my "grass" lawn or my "brick" house, not forgetting my "personal" opinion. And the point about getting many false hits in a google search is also compelling.

"Oasis" should be the ideal name for the project. It conjures up all the right images and connotations in my mind, but it's just too much overused by other projects, groups and businesses.

I don't know what to think of "Agora". I keep confusing it with Amphora (again, Classical Greek wasn't on the curriculum at school).

I believe that tying the product description into the name can have consequences. With something as shifty as the Internet, do we want to have a name that looks outmoded when the infrastructure moves on ("Db-backed websites with html front ends. Hah! Thats sooooo 1990s"). Imagine if the market changed on Burger King and made it better for them to become a soup kitchen franchise (or, worse, a Services Company). Their name would no longer reflect their product and they'd have to reinvent it.

The ACS was a magic mix of technology and design, but the real magic ingredient was the attitudes of the original developers. Pragmatism reigned supreme mixed in with gobs of chutzpah, ego and flair. Any brand identity for Ars Digita arose from successful projects completed against insane schedules for lavish prices, not from the cheesy descriptive product name.

I think that, since the OpenACS project is keeping the ACS Classic torch alive, it should adopt a name in keeping with the original pioneering spirit. I don't have any earth shattering suggestions to offer, but I do like the association with Alex.

My suggestion is to change the name of the project to The Panda Web Publishing System. If people care about its origins, they can find it in The Book. For everyone else, there's a clear identity for the product (it's a big, overweight grass-eating hairball that looks like it's taken 10 rounds with Tyson) and it's a nice homage to everybody's favourite web personalities as well as a statement of our agreement with their vision. (I really hate that word but I can't think of anything snappier right now.)

Or something like that. There will be some obstacles to overcome if the panda motif is chosen. For a start, panda.org and panda.net are unavailable. Furthermore, there are a number of other software packages calling themselves Panda this and that. It may well be even more overused than Oasis (I haven't checked).

Since IANAL, my remedy for these issues would be to simply base the domain name on something other than the primary product name. The latin for Panda is Ailuropoda melanoleuca, so we could build a project identity around ailur.org. And all function names could begin with am_. Yah, I like it more and more...

In some ways, it's going to be a shame if a new name actually does come about, as many are bound to be disappointed. Still, it was nice to get all that off my chest. Thanks for listening, and have a happy new year.

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Posted by Tapiwa Sibanda on
Like Paul, a lot of these names with Latin and Greek 'meanings' are totally foreign to me. Very few people know that Nike is the Greek god of victory. But they do not need to know this to appreciate the brand. I think one of the reasons is the ease with which it flows off the tongue.

The organisation I work for is going through a similar rebranding exercise. Defining the brand et al was the easy part. Coming up with the name is proving more difficult. The marketing company that is conducting the branding exercise had their way of thinking, and one of their strong points was..... Latin based/derived names. I think this is all the rage. The workshops they conducted were not too dissimilar to what is described in this article at Salon.com.

All I am saying is that whatever name we come up with, should not be gimicky, (and I think Latin names at the moment are... a couple of ears ago, it was miXED letter sizes aD openACS mySQL etc).

I particularly like something neutral. My current favourites are oaks, and oasis. Here is another excellent article on naming, and name changes.

Don, I think I failed to explain myself regarding oasis4. What I was saying was having the product called oasis4 forever(harking to the OACS 4 origins). The current version could be oasis4 v5.0 or release 5.0 or whatever. future versions would not be oasis5 or oasis6, but be oasis4 v5 or v5.1 etc. Again OS/2, Lotus 123, and 3M are some products that used this letter/number naming convention.

Throwing in the number at the end would help get a domain name like oasis4.org as opposed to oasis-development.org . While other posters have downplayed the importance of a domain name to match the project name, I think that for branding purposes, it does make a difference.

Another suggestions in the vein, would be 4oaks. While like apache, those that are really interested can be told that the name comes from the pronunciation of OACS which comes from open.... the name should speak for itself.

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Posted by Don Baccus on
It's not clear to me from this thread so far whether there will be a shortlist of names on which we can all vote or whether a secret cabal will read every comment and pick the one with the most persuasive argument. Any calls for due process appear to be drowned out by everybody's favourite suggestion.
This seems a rather unfair and hostile characterization to me. Thus far it feels like that the proper "due process" is this very freewheeling conversation we're having. The fact that new name ideas "drown out calls for due process" seems to me to be strong evidence that people aren't ready to shut down the creative process of dreaming up potential names.

I know that Neophytos has an idea he wants to write about by later this week and I for one am interested in what he has to say. I'm sure others will come up with things of interest, too. I doubt I'm the only person curious to see what other ideas will spring up over the next few days.

If we get to a point where there's one strong winner - a consensus builder - it will become fairly obvious, I think. If not, we can run a poll or something like that.

But right now why shouldn't we just keep the ideas rolling and worry about "due process" later?

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Posted by carl garland on

Google currently reports 11,200 results for OpenACS and another 500+ in Google groups. After browsing through first few hundred I'm pretty sure that all these references are to our openacs. Any namechange that tries to migrate *completely* away from openacs would result in either starting at 0 results or getting mixed in with results from other meanings which add to the confusion. Also all development shops/ client sites that are currently promoting openacs would also maybe need to clarify or achieve client confusion. (Note- this does not impact me personally)

I think we need to step back and say what we are trying to obtain by the *name change*. In my opinion the goals are

  • Avoid confusion with AD product ACS and how they are not really same code bases.
  • Try to push out the new product and establish a brand.
These seem like reasonable goals and there probably are more legit reasons I am missing but like it or not OpenACS currently is a brand and normally most companies that have an existing brand and try to rebrand themselves usually get lots of flak unless they running away from the old brand for very valid reasons.

I think that just by officially renaming the "A" and by announcing a new product *Oaks or whatever* we obtain a large part of the two main goals...just my 0.01 but I do think its worth looking again at what are the real goals here and how are they *best* accomplished.

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Posted by Don Baccus on
I personally see no conflict between maintaining the domain OpenACS, perhaps calling ourselves the OpenACS Project, and having a new name for  the next version of our product.  Companies have multiple products, why can't we? :)

I think you're saying pretty much the same thing.  Clearly we want to make sure that people searching for OpenACS find it.  And actually people who look for ACS ...

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Posted by Paul Sharples on
Don,

I was alluding to Joel Natividad's suggestion to utilise the poll module which has become buried under an avalanche of name suggestions, name deconstructions and calls to clarify what aspect of the Ars Digita/ACS relationship the new name should emphasise. So, yes, there's been only one post raising the issue of actually managing the actual selection (funny, I thought there were more than this) and my comment was unfair, though any hostility was unintentional.

Maybe a new name will appear through popular consensus... but I doubt it (I'll be happy to be proved wrong though). I remember Debian running a logo contest for months with no clear winner before someone (Bruce Perens, I think) eventually picked one simply to conclude the proceedings.

In our case, I suspect that if someone of similar stature were to unilaterally declare a "winner", I would find it easier to live with than if a (IMO) lousy name were voted in, where I'd probably regret not having lobbied harder.

Incidentally, is anyone at liberty to comment on why Sean Y is now deleted?

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

Paul,

I think you're already seeing some "coalescing" of opinions around variants of "Pueblo" and "Oaks". I'd guess this should continue as-is for another five to ten days (to allow people to get back from Christmas and New Year's celebrations) and then to get a poll together for the four or five most popular names in this discussion.

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Posted by Jerry Asher on
Sean wrote to say that while he will probably lurk occasionally with the New Year he feels it is "time to go off and do new things."  I wish him the best and look forward to learning of his future endeavors.
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Posted by Torben Brosten on
OACS pronounced as "ox", "oaks" or "oasis" seems reasonable for now. I've heard "linux" pronounced with a short and long "i". This multi-pronunciation fits the global community concept of accepting diverse-cultural perspectives, while maintaining the current OACS acronym.

In the spirit of J.R.Tolkein, we could create a mythology around the original meaning of OACS. The mythology could provide a creative exploration for the meaning of OACS, while providing a great resource for matching meaning to individual client preferences--a sales tool.  "A" can mean Architecture, ArsDigita, advanced, archival, active, alternative, Alex, Adam, avatar etc.  Each client could promote one meaning over another... adding to the mythology or hype.

For any acronym change, two syllables (more than two letters) seems appropriate, as in "linux", "dotcom" etc. Also, OACS seems fairly unique on the web, whereas many 2 or 3 letter acronyms could obscure someone's interest in quickly finding related information.

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
The problem with OpenACS or OACS is that they both still look
too much like "ACS," which is exactly the confusion we're trying to
avoid.
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Posted by Talli Somekh on
As has been stated in this thread previous, the most important thing is to get the A as in aD out of the name ASAP. It's a hindrance in pitching the system because it gives the impression that the community is reliant upon the company and because aD's viability is constantly in question.

That being said, IM-almost-hereritcal-O the least interesting piece of the stack in the OACS is the ACS stuff, meaning the tcl code and the datamodel. Sure, that stuff is a great help, is tested and works nicely (most of the time) but the real power of the system lies in AOLserver and the true use of true RDBMSs.

A rather complicated database or web application usually can take advantage of some OACS code, but it usually requires a large amount of custom development. These two pieces provide the true RAD environment, rather than something like the news module. So I think it's important to somehow stress that what makes the OACS so strong is the strong foundation of a great webserver app and strong DBs.

I agree with Michael that stressing something like a "community toolkit" is kind of passe. "Knowledge management" and "groupware" are hot now, but could go the way of "community" soon as well.

Names like Pueblo, Oasis or Agora are very attractive to me because they provide a bit of mystique in their metaphorical connotations. The best name that I've heard so far, in fact, is Zocalo (Pat Colgan's idea). To paraphrase Urban Parks Online (yes, a gratuitious Musea plug, sorry), Zocalo is the nickname for the Plaza de la Constitucion de Oaxaca. Here is a description:

Strolling down the pedestrian walkway, Macedonio Alcala, one arrives at the daily fiesta that is the zocalo. Children run after their globos (large tubular balloons), plastic helicopters and Pokemon balloons which are all sold by vendors in the open space next to the Cathedral. There are activities for all ages in the plaza, a characteristic that demonstrates why this space has always been a primary social place. Sitting on benches, parents enjoy the soothing sounds from the fountains as they watch their children play. Vendors circumambulating the zocalo sell corn, chapulines and fruit to customers at the shoe shine stands scattered throughout the plaza. Friends gather on the benches to discuss events they read about in newspapers bought by the nearby newsstands. Every night, musicians serenade customers eating at the cafes and on Thursday nights the Banda Musica del Estado performs classical music and old popular Mexican songs.

Since Zocalo is a place where people come to do anything from commerce to relax to romance, it would seem to be a nice metaphorical name, much like the other suggestions.

That being said, Zocalo sounds WAY TOO MUCH like Zope, our closest cousin in the open source development world. It would probably cause too much confusion.

Other ideas in this vein, though, might be something like Carnival. When I mention this idea to Roberto, our community Brazilian, he asked whether we would have naked dancing ladies, too. I could not argue, since I thought his idea would be a feature, not a bug.

talli

PS
What about the color scheme? Since the new OACS site has been built, it would be nice to keep the same color scheme so that a whole lot of work doesn't have to be done over again, but I'm only saying that in a selfish effort to avoid more work.

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Paul - thanks.  I think Daryl's idea - leaving discussion open for another week or so to let folks settle in after the holidays - is a good one.  If a clear winner emerges we can go with it, set up a poll otherwise.  We'll have to remember to include a "they all suck" choice.

And, yes, it looks like S.Y. deleted himself.  He has certainly never done anything here that would lead to our banning him or anything like that (also note that deleted users can undelete themselves, he can come back any time he wants and is more than welcome to do so).

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Posted by Torben Brosten on

'The problem with OpenACS or OACS is that they both still look too much like "ACS," which is exactly the confusion we're trying to avoid' (Michael Feldstein).

I agree that as OpenACS evolves away from ACS, there will be a need to differentiate more clearly between the systems. Is OACS ready to make that distinction?

At this point, most of the work is still porting software and critical documentation--not new modules.

thoughts on changing name:

weaknesses:

  1. changing names can be a sign of whimsical support --lacking dedication to objectives etc.
  2. changing name away from ACS reduces message that OpenACS is alternative to ACS
  3. Loss of ACS as a keyword for finding OpenACS as a viable alternative.
  4. the greater the distinction between the two systems, the less likely we can use (now) proprietary (copyrighted) documentation to support the project.

strengths:

  1. creates new distinct identity for project
  2. helps everyone differentiate between the OpenACS and ACS
  3. gatekeepers can write their own OpenACS books...

I offer the following words to the creative pot:

  • phronesis - evolving community-centric knowledge (origin Greek?)
  • Cadre or Cader - Means "framework". Essentially, OpenACS strives to be machine/OS/DB/other software independent... leaving a power framework at the core. Seems a nice acronym could be made from it as an alternative to the other great choices.

holiday cheers

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Posted by Yon Derek on
Changing the name will have zero effect on (mostly imaginary) confusion with AD product line. And all the possible confusion can be solved by a paragraph in a visible place on the web site.

Changing the name will have zero effect on the quality or popularity of the product.

That's not counting the negative effects of the name change (like confusing all those who already know what OpenACS is (to avoid confusing those that don't know?)).

I offer those insight despite overwhelming evidence that everyone else apparently thinks differently i.e. that there is any value in changing the name (therefore volountarilly setting myself up for a flame). YMAVBMMIB.

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Posted by Talli Somekh on
Yon, I'm not going to flame you but you can't make statement like that unless you've got evidence one way or the other. In my experience trying to sell the OACS, the A plays a big part in the discussion. People immediately assume we're relying upon a company to build the system.

So I don't agree with you, unless you can show me evidence to the contrary.

talli

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Posted by Gilbert Price on
I've been reading with interest the lively discussion about name changing. While I'm just a small guy who uses openACS as part of a larger corporate Intranet, I do have a couple observations.

The name "OpenACS" has always made it easy to find the site, for over a year before I actually committed to installing the application/architecture as part of the Intranet, I often devoured all the forum postings and then would go away for a few weeks or so. When something at work came up that I knew OpenACS would be the answer for, it wasn't a bookmark that I followed back, but the name openacs.org in the open box of my browser.

One other observation, which name has more recognition: Navistar or International Harvester and which company built heavy machinery :-)?

Just a couple of pennies to muddle the waters a bit...

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Posted by MaineBob OConnor on

I agree that a name change is a good idea. I also recommend that an old domain and site openacs.org be kept and a script written to do an automatic redirect if possible so that all links to anything old, as might be cached in GOOGLE, will be found, such as this thread:

www.openacs.org/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0003Ye

becomes

www.oacs.org/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0003Ye

AND

if it really is a 404, then a nice explaination page and redirect to the new site.

As far as a name, I LOVE anything with Oaks in it. My father goes by the name Okie because of our last name O'Connor, I volunteered for the E911 committee in my town so I could rename my Fire Road 47 into "Great Oak Lane". My house is surrounded by some really "great" oaks!

Because oaks.com is taken, I like oacs.com is a good short name. 'Oaks with a "C" ' We may want to add another syllable to it...

I'd also encourage buying the .com .net .org names too just like the ZOPE people did.... especially the .com.

.info could be the documentation site! and .biz could be the commercial big customer site.

-Bob

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Posted by Rick Cottle on
Just to jump on the bandwagon...  It took me some time to realize the current OACS logo was of Alex.  For a while I thought it was a seal or something :-O  If we change the name can we also change the logo (not the statue of Bachus!).  When I finally go live with my site, I would really love to have a Powered by... logo with something other than a seal :-)
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Posted by Scott Mc Williams on
Wow...good to see a largely technical group of folks having this marketing discussion!

Ok...first off I have to respond to the latest post. A seal?!? Youdo know what a seal looks like right? It's that thing that balances a ball on it's nose? Oh well...guess I'm a little attached to that logo (Eve likes it...that's good enough for me darnnit! :)  )

I too like the name OACS, but as far as it being pronouced "Oaks" well...you're going to run into troubles without having oaks.com owned. Also, kill the idea of any domain names with a "-" in them...VERY unprofessional.

Having had to sell the OpenACS a NUMBER of times I've never ONCE had any client ask about aD. I really don't think they have much market share. To be completely honest I think we could stick with OpenACS and have it not mean ANYTHING!

It seems to me we have two discussions going on here...a rename for the "company" and a rename for the "product". If that is the case, we could rename only one of them if that would help. This thread has become extremely long and cumbersome. I just stumbled across it a day ago so maybe I haven't read correctly, but is there an impending legal reason to change the name(s)? Or just a perceived marketing issue?

As a marketing type person I would advise against a rename unless it is REALLY (i.e. legally) necessary. But, I'm glad to redesign the logo...I can make it look like a seal if you want. ;)

Scott

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Posted by Gilbert Price on
<i>I have to agree with Scott!</i>
<p>I guess I see this as a those who want change vs. those who don't. Maybe it's not the name we need to change, but rather the meaning behind the letters in the name.
<p>I have no qualms with eliminating the ArsDigita from the name. Heck, I own the domain pcs-sc, (Price Consulting Services of South Carolina) and I'm always getting mail intended for pcs-sd (Precision Computer Systems of South Dakota) the c and d keys are pretty close together. OpenACS can stand for:
<ul>
<li>Advanced Community System
<li>Automated Collaboration System
<li>Another Community System
<li>A Community System
</ul>
<p>Kind of like, "Good Morning, at PCS-SC we are deeply committed to bringing the Advanced Community System to your on-line presence. Let me explain a few of it's many features...". The product "ACS" sells itself if sold properly. I'd really hate to lose the "capital" built up over the past...
<p>Thanks,
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Posted by Janine Ohmer on
Having had to sell the OpenACS a NUMBER of times I've never ONCE had any client ask about aD.

We get asked about aD a lot, so I guess it depends who your clients are. Ours tend to have read Philip's book, or are being advised by someone who has, and are specifically seeking out someone who uses the ACS. As such, they always want to know about our relationship to aD, aD's involvement in the OpenACS project, etc etc.

I'm not sure that a name change would make all that much difference as far as those discussions go, but hopefully it would make it clearer that no, we're not still following in their footsteps and no, there probably won't be a Java port. :)

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

Scott,

With all due respect, the fact that most of the people here are "technical" people in that they earn their living by designing, administering, and creating computer systems does not mean those people have no "marketing" expertise. To imply the latter could be understood as something of an insult to one's intelligence, and I suspect that your post could be interpreted that way.

OpenACS is a toolkit. Marketing a toolkit involves addressing technical people, and technical people are hardly unaware of the power of a brand. When technical people make recommendations, their reputations are on the line. These folks like the comfort of a strong brand as much as any pointy-haired boss type.

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Posted by Scott Mc Williams on
Hi Daryl,

I of course, meant no offense. I have nothing but TONS of respect for what I consider "technical" people. I know that many people have the ability to cross over and play the other side of the fence too. I am somewhat in the middle myself, that's why I'm here. I don't even use the word "creative" to decribe marketing types because I feel that implies that "technical" people aren't! I think that's hogwash and I've spent many hours trying to convince a number of Photoshop/Flash/Macintosh types that creativity doesn't just mean how many filters you can use. I've noticed that the REALLY creative ones get it immediately.

Maybe it's my client base, but MOST of the clients I've spoken with have never coded even page of html in their lives. I'm not dealing with mom and pop shops, I'm talking about larger corporations (www.royal.com for example).

I like the idea of "repurposing" the meaning of ACS. There is precedence for that as well. I can't think of anything right now...but I know it's been done.

Let's keep the conversation rolling...

Scott

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on
Maybe it's my client base, but MOST of the clients I've spoken with have never coded even page of html in their lives.

Fair enough. But do these clients care what toolkit you use, as long as it runs on systems they're willing to pay for and is stable? For shops like this, they're probably not even aware of what toolkit you're using. You're selling functionality, not a toolkit, no?

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Posted by Tapiwa Sibanda on
Daryl, Phil put it very succintly when he wrote "managers who don't know SQL will sit in meetings with salesmen who don't know SQL, trying to figure out whether Oracle, Informix, Sybase, or DB2 is best."

While a lot of people we sell to are technically challenged, and are happy to have you run the show and make recommendations, you will find the odd manager who wants to stick his finger in the pie so to speak. These people tend to want to display their knowledge (or lack therof). Good or bad, you will find such a manager waxing lyrical about this product or other (because he has read the marketing spiel) and will totally badmouth something like openACS because he does not know a thing about it, and is not really technically competent to evaluate it objectively.

Like they used to say, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. With the right branding, one would be in a position to deal with impossible/ignorant manager by saying "what do you mean you don't know what openACS is?". In fact, if selling the brand is done correctly, these "suits" will be afraid to challenge the openACS least they show their ignorance.

I have a friend who is doing a lot of IT/Oracle consultancy work in South Africa, and he says that the way he swings a lot of deals, is by (subtley of course) telling the managers that choosing his solution will make them look good. :-)

Just my £0.02 worth

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124: New name: Pluribus (response to 1)
Posted by Joshua Hecht on

"Pluribus"

  1. translates loosely to "many"
  2. is latin, and indicates subtle heritage to arsDigita (also latin)
  3. is distinctive
  4. is easy to pronounce, recognize, recall, and store in memory
  5. suggests something about the project's benefits - 'many' invokes ideas about numerous contributors (open-source), communities, etc.
  6. has positive associations -- 'e pluribus unum' (one out of many) invokes ideas of colloboration, democracy

(name derived from a M. Feldstein suggestion, applied A. Farkas' tests, and reasoned it out with A. Sanyal)

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Not bad, not bad at all ... what do others think?

I may put up a poll soon to ask some metaquestions, i.e. should we ...

1. Leave project and toolkit name alone

2. Leave project name for now, OACS 3.2.5 name alone forever, change name of 4.x

3. Change the world, ditch "the seal" (the seal? :) :) )

4. Change name but keep the same/similar acronym (OpenACS or OACS)

Something like that.  Would this be useful in steering things?  If 90%  choose #4, for example, people can stop trying to come up with brand-new names (my personal vote is for #2 at the moment).

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Posted by Adam Farkas on
I like pluribus.  It sounds strong.
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Posted by C. R. Oldham on
Unfortunately Pluribus.[com|net|org] are not available.

:-(

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Posted by Joshua Hecht on
Actually, pluribus.com is taken but unused, the owner of pluribus.org appears to be an open-source fan and may be willing to part with it, pluribus.net is unused, pluribus.info is available, and pluribusproject.* are all available.
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Posted by Jade Rubick on
I like the idea of a poll, Don.

Pluribus doesn't really do anything for me personally. It has too strong of an association with America for me, and sounds awkward plur-i-bus.

I doubt we're all going to agree, however. We do seem to have coalesced around a few possibilities, though

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Posted by Don Baccus on
We could really make it Yankee-ish: ePluribus

Man, am I glad none of you live close enough to Portland to come to my house and beat the crap out of me for THAT :)

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
Hmmm, Don, perhaps you forgot that I live in Portland :)
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Posted by Torben Brosten on
Hey Don, I thought the same thing "ePluribus", but didn't post. Maybe it's in the Portland air [I'm in SE PDX]... but then I also like the pronunciation of "ox" for "oacs" --something about oxen as multiple-utility animals in third-world communities as an analogy, a shade of GPL evangelism, and not wanting a pretentious name that few [of my potential clients] can relate to...
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Posted by Don Baccus on
Wow ... we have three people in Portland?  (there's another I won't mention who's still just testing etc and actually a couple of others, it could become SIX)

That's nearly enough for an OpenACS social.  Probably enough.  SE Portland?  The Dirty Dog (lucky lab)?  The bridgeport brewpub on Hawthorne?  The Bagdhad (with a good movie, of course, the beer and food  suck).

Wow ... this could happen.  We could pick the name and RULE, eh?

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Jade -- looking at your posted website, you are without doubt an urban Portland, Oregon dude (from your post you could've been a Maine or English pretender, after all!)  One look was all it took, and I ... well, yeah, recognized you as a die-hard PDXer.

Which is sorta what all this is about.  Make toolkit available for low-rent folks, make toolkit that can support you while you support low-rent folks, etc.  (I don't mind if people get rich, too, but that's not my motivation).

Beer is just liquid bread - lasts longer without rotting, a great way to preserve grain for future consumption.  PDX'ers should meet and greet and break ... bread?  well a few pints at least.

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Posted by Jade Rubick on
Torben and Don:

I'd love to meet in person and have a social breaking of "bread". Let's followup by email.

Cheers, PDX!

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Posted by Rick Cottle on
How 'bout keeping the letters but changing the meaning slightly. The 'openACS' looks good (ever since NeXT, using lower case has been cool). Make ACS stand for "ACSCommunity System." Kinda a 'gnu-ish' solution.
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
I'm inclined to agree with Don (and others) that the prudent thing
to do is to rebrand the 4.x product and leave the OpenACS name
alone for the project as a whole, at least for now. Once people
get used to the idea of the new name for the product, then maybe
we can think about extending the new branding to the entire
project. If this is the path we follow, then I believe the product
name should absolutely *not* have the letters A-C-S in it, since
we're trying to get away from comparisons to the ArsDigita
product, and since the ACS reference will still be on the site.
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Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Two weeks skiing and suddenly we have the namechange discussion again {luckily I cannot be seen by AD Folks as a traitor for that move anymore ;-)}. Why not use GCS as in "Gnu Community System". This would bring us in a completly different league, if we could convince FSF (or whoever) to allow us using the GNU brand.
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Posted by Joel Natividad on
I cast my vote for GCS! Malte is right, using GCS will automatically endow us with the "open" aura, and will definitely get more mileage.

I know - I kept pumping up the importance of brand, and developing our own, but luck, oftentimes, plays an important part in getting traction.

Hitching our star to the GNU wagon methinks is also a valid strategy. And if we want to develop our own unique brand, we can always create module names as Michael suggested.

Also, using GCS might help facilitate pushing to get the system as part of standard linux distributions.

I know we have a lot of Debian folks out there in the community, maybe they can package it up and submit it. Somebody doing SUSE and RedHat might help as well.

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on
My big concern about hitching the cart to the GNU wagon is the degree to which we're seen as being linked to Richard Stallman.
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Posted by Don Baccus on
I don't like the GCS idea, either.  This isn't a GNU project ...

I'm not making a pejorative statement, it's just a factual one.

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Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on
Here's my suggestion: *endictis* is the greek word for *index*. It could also be used to cite the best option or the best way to do something as expected by the social norms. It is pronounced as (n-the-ctis). I have reserved the domain names, so we don't have to worry about that.
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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
This thread seems to have died down. Is it time to take a poll or
two?
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Posted by Jade Rubick on
I agree. Let's vote!
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Posted by Don Baccus on
Yes, I'd like to set up a couple of simple polls.  I've been extremely busy the last two weeks but am starting to see at least the tunnel at the end of the tunnel ...

How about I set up a couple of polls over the weekend?

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146: $.02 (response to 1)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
Fulcrum

My idea for a toolkit name, not necessarily the project name.

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Posted by Daryl Biberdorf on

FWIW, Fulcrum is the name of a product that indexes and provides search capabilities from a large variety of sources. App servers like SilverStream (a product best avoided) use Fulcrum to provide full-text searches in the absence of things like interMedia. You can read the brochure (PDF).

There could be some conflicts over that name.

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Posted by Joel Natividad on
Gents,

Shall we close this thread and conduct a poll?

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Posted by Torben Brosten on
Last minute thought: "Servitude"  it's serving with an attitude

not quite sure of how to make an acronym from it yet, as an off the wall thought...

SERVer Internet Tools Under a Dynamic Envronment  =)

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150: Late to the party (response to 1)
Posted by Carl Coryell-Martin on
For the 3.2.x codebase:

open Arbitrary Community System
open Arms Community System
open Arrogant Community System

That being said, I have a fondness for the oACS and openACS brands.

Cheers,

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Posted by Don Baccus on
Take the poll, Carl, that's what it's there for :)  Only a few days left! (I set it up for a week).

Visit our home page and cast your vote.  If there's a strong showing for a name change I may run some followups (folks - e-mail me your strong feelings as to whether or not we need to, please!) to help push things home.

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Posted by Michael Feldstein on
The one problem with changing the branding to OACS ("Oaks")
is that oacs.org is owned by the Ontario Alliance of Christian
Schools.
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Posted by Michael A. Cleverly on
In a way it'd be kind of a nifty pun to pronounce OACS "Oaks" for the Tcl version (that aD abandonded in favor of Java), since the original name for Java at Sun was Oak ... :^)
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Posted by Don Baccus on
My poll questions probably weren't as clear as I thought.  My thinking was that a choice for OACS would be "OpenACS's OACS 4.2", with the URL remaining openacs.org.  We'd had some discussions along these lines in the thread.

The poll thus far shows a plurality for "OpenACS == Open Architecture ..." without the "OACS".  Maybe we can say 'informally pronounced "Oaks" for short'.

This poll was set up for a week.  >50% seem to be in favor of "Open Architecture" (with or without "Oaks", i.e. I'm lumping).  There's a substantial group wanting no change at all.  That second group may or may not prefer "OACS" if we switch to "Open Architecture", and that's the second poll I'm thinking of setting up.

In other words between 2 & 3 so those who voted for 1 and 4 can influence the choice between those options, having lost out on the first poll.  Assuming the current trend accurately forecasts the end result, of course.

Do people think this would be worthwhile?  I want to make this process as inclusive as possible.

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Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on
"This poll was set up for a week. >50% seem to be in favor of "Open Architecture" (with or without "Oaks", i.e. I'm lumping). There's a substantial group wanting no change at all. That second group may or may not prefer "OACS" if we switch to "Open Architecture", and that's the second poll I'm thinking of setting up."

Don, I think that the poll shows that >50% seem to be in favor of "Open Architecture" (with or without "Oaks", i.e. I'm lumping) and it also shows that >65% seem to be in favor of "OpenACS". The choice for "Open Architecture says "don't change anything else".

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Posted by Jonathan Ellis on
For the record, I voted for #2 b/c aD is gone and "Oaks" sounds really really stupid to me. :P
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Posted by Jade Rubick on
That's not the only alternative pronunciation, as I posted before (wassup still is my favorite). But...

A new pronunciation idea:

Pronounce it Wacks! (because it wacks the hell out of the competition!) Can be used as a verb, as a noun.. very flexible grammatically.

Oacs

Of course, this rhymes with Wax.