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What's in a name

Posted by daniel on October 22, 2003 at 5:53 AM PDT

We've been looking at items that need renaming here at

Take a look at the Project Listing page for Most of the categories, by which I mean projects, make sense. Arrgghhhh - already a naming problem. When we were putting together we imagined projects that would live in communities. In a way, the communities would be both categories that would help you locate related projects and, it was hoped, there would be synergies from these grouping. Because of the tool being used, what we think of as categories or communities had to be listed in the "Projects" tab. In fact, as those of you who have clicked on it know, the "Categories" tab is empty and will be going away at some point.

So let's say that you can accept that categories and communities will be referred to as projects. Then what do we call the things that you call projects. We call those projects too. For this discussion, let's refer to them as "actual projects". I think the tool technically handles them as sub-projects. Now, for the most part, the names of the projects (using that word to mean communities), are pretty clear: communication, education-research, games, javadesktop, javatools, jugs, and so on. For most of these you know what to expect.

But what do we do with those projects (i.e., actual projects) that don't fit into any of the projects (i.e., communities). We put them in a project (community) containing projects (actual projects) called projects. In other words, the area for actual projects that don't yet belong to any community is called projects. This just drives me nuts.

Every couple of weeks I suggest that we come up with a new name for it, but, to be fair, there have been more pressing items to take care of. Finally it came up yesterday at a meeting and we discussed ideas for names. We want a name that implies the following: actual projects in this category are not part of a community, they may join a community at some time or form a new community, and they are no more or less important than projects that currently belong to a community. We came up with several suggestions. Use the feedback below or email me with your suggestions. While you're at it, see if you can come up with a new name for javajar.

In Weblogs today N. Alex Rupp has a different take of what's in a name in On Branding and Copyright -- Open Source for Entrepreneurs. He writes that in the open source world it is important not only to consider copyright of the software but also control of the brand or "you find yourself locked in to somebody else's license scheme or (potentially worse), somebody else's brand." As an example, he points to the time in June "when Core Developers Network forked the JBoss project, they knew full and well they could not change the license of the software from LGPL to Apache. They would have needed to get permission from every person who ever worked on JBoss if they wanted to do that."

Rupp points out that licensing was not as big an issue with forking JBoss as was the brand. Rupp writes

The fact remains that Dr. Fleury controls the brand. He's invested a lot of time in that brand, and he'll no doubt reap the benefit of that investment someday. And more power to him for thinking ahead. It's really too bad that he didn't think ahead about the copyright issue. He admitted earlier this year in an interview that one of his largest regrets was not licensing the product under the full GPL. Why? Because then he could follow the MySQL business model and sell non-GPL licensing at a premium, without losing the good graces of academia and the free software community.

Philip Brittan continues his exploration of Open Standards Definitions . He points out that "that open and proprietary are not opposites. A standard may be both open and proprietary at the same time. A 'closed standard' is an oxymoron. You can have 'closed systems' which do not allow third-party integration, but you cannot have a meaningful closed standard."

Community member zander, responds

Saying that HTML is not owned by a company and hence in the public domain is painting a wrong picture; while it certainly looks like that, its not that simple. HTML (the name) is owned by the w3c, which is a company. A non-profit company, but still a legal form of a company. If the majority of the W3C thinks HTML should be payed for from now on; they can do that. But since around 400 members will have to agree with that; you can be quite sure the standard will not only be open, but also free.
The second wrong is that standards are not copyrightable; the documents describing them can be, but the standard is not, so you can't place it in the public domain.

Eitan Suez continues the discussion of To swing or to web, appears to be a big questions. He notes that the gap between webers and swingers has narrowed and he hopes that Java Desktop Network Components will narrow the gap even more. For now, however, Eitan points to the NakedObjects framework for prototyping applications.

In Also in Java Today , Adam Bosworth writes about what is required of a browser When Connectivity isn't certain. In this case "everything that the customer needs [must be] present on the client. This means that not only does the client handle the formating of the information into pages, it also holds the intelligence about what happens between pages." Looking for a quick leg up learning about XQuery? Check out Jason Hunter and Mike Clark's XQuery Wiki . You'll find links to articles, best practices, vendors and resources, and don't forget the Brain Teasers and the XQuery test Harness.

In Projects and Communities , the Java Web Services and XML community points to Marc Hadley's blog entry on Java Web Services Developer Pack 1.3 Release. Also in Java Tools news Felipe Leme blogs that JDeveloper has been released and a news item announces Borland's release of JBuilderX.

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