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From "Danny Angus" <>
Subject [policy] Ethics and Project Names - discuss
Date Tue, 29 Aug 2006 12:00:28 GMT

I think the time might be right to provoke a dispassionate discussion
about our use of proper names for project names.

I'd like to start by suggesting the following for discussion;

That there be a new category of minimum exit requirements named
somthing like "Ethical considerations" and that the initial item in
this list be "The podling name should not equal or contain a proper
noun which may already be associated with any identifiable community
or individual or have a special meaning in any cultural context,
unless such a proper noun is an attribution and is generally accepted
to be relevant, such as the name of an inventor or associated
institution." The intention is to discourage the use of proper names
as project altogether, the exception is to allow the fine tradition of
naming inventions after their inventor to continue.

My reasoning for this is simple, the ASF has a high profile and we
already know that some groups are unhappy with our use of the Apache
name. I wouldn't suggest that we should re-name existing entities, but
I do believe that adoption of a proper name and the high profile it
will undobtedly receive by its association with the ASF is more likely
to be met with disapproval, especially by groups to whom the name
already has a cultural context, than approval. I think this is
particularly true when you consider that sucessful projects have an
on-line profile high enough to eclipse the original use of the name. I
cannot think of an example where re-using a proper name might have any
positive benefit for both parties.

I believe that it is right for us to consider ethical questions, and I
believe that the solution to this one need not be onerous if podlings
are aware of it from the start of their involvement.

Should we apply ethical considerations at all?
Should we avoid proper names?
... and if not why not?


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