"GNU social" sucks.
Not the project! I'm actually quite enthusiastic about the project. I
think it's great; I use the software every day. I want the fediverse to
grow, and thrive, and obviate the big, closed, commercial services.
But the name sucks.
Sticking "GNU" in front of the name of piece of software buys you some
interest with a small group of computer users who happen to share a
particular set of values, but the wider world couldn't be made to care
less. So, take the GNU away and you're left with what? "Social." Ugh.
"Social media" is a noxious catch-phrase. Naming projects/products
after noxious catch-phrases makes you look *really lame*. Imagine a
TCP/IP stack released under the name Superhighway. Yeah. It would only
be worse if you named it Superhighway '95. Worse still, it's an ~old~
catch-phrase (Twitter exploded in, what, 2007?). The term might stick
around indefinitely, but right now it's been overused, overhyped, and is
rapidly becoming quite passé. That's not good for attracting new users,
new interest, and growing the network.
Furthermore, GNU projects have a long history of humorous, whimsical,
and punny names. 'GNU social' is boring as shit.
I'm gonna make a bold proposition, here: the name should be changed to
Now, Herds isn't the most inventive name in the universe, I know. But
it's got some strengths that "social" does not:
* It's homophonous with "heard". As in, stand up and be herd! Or,
more simply, BE HERD. That's not only a solid tag-line, but it's a
reflection of what we want GNU social to be about: herd to signify
in opposition to proprietary corporate media, and heard to signify
expression through free software.
* It's an animal metaphor for what the software actually does: it
globally unifies the communications of a panoply of *local herds*
we now call instances).
* It invites a thematically unified set of system jargon, and that
reinforces community. Right now we have people talking about
"statuses", "notices", and "dents" interchangeably, all of which are
artifacts of various incarnations of StatusNet. All are also
terms. "Notices" and "statuses" are inaccurate -- *conversations*
place on GNU social, not just notifications and status updates -- and
"dents" is ...incoherent. A more general term is needed: bleats.
it's like "tweets" only less humiliating to say aloud. And, yes, I
that wildebeest do not "bleat", but the unifying theme isn't "herds of
gnu", it's simply "herds".) So, a GNU Herds user might be ~grazing~
public feed of their local ~herd~, see a ~bleat~ they like, and
~rebleat~ it... you get the idea.
Also, "Herds" should be an acronym. Better yet, it should be multiple
acronyms, because I love when the names of projects are understood to be
acronyms, but no consensus has been reached about what the acronym
actually is. Here are some starters:
Heterogeneous Exchange of Remote Data Subscriptions
Humane Ecosystem of Reticulate Data Stores
Human Expression Relayed via Distributed Servers
You might be thinking, ah, but we don't want to confuse people by
calling it Herds when there's a 25-year-old GNU project that's never
going to be completed called Hurd. Listen -- NOBODY is going to confuse
Herds with Hurd. Of the billion GNU/Linux (and derivatives) users on
the planet, how many of them have ever heard of the Hurd project?
Probably no more than point-one percent of them, and that's being
generous. Moreover, those who ~have~ heard of it know that a Hurd is a
Hird of Unix-Replacing Daemons and is nothing to do with herds. It's a
Alright, that's my rant/proposal concluded. Let's hear the yays and
nays and their rationales, shall we? STAND UP AND BE HERD!
Or remain seated, whatever's more comfortable.