Re: DAK Commands for Bikesheds
> +++ Raphael Hertzog [2015-09-17 14:41 +0200]:
> > Hi,
> > On Thu, 17 Sep 2015, Joerg Jaspert wrote:
> > > Please check if I forgot something obvious or if there is some big error
> > > in it. Patches/git trees to merge from/... are welcome.
> > Please don't call this feature "Bikesheds" and don't hardcode this naming
> > in the suggested API. It was funny during one Debconf talk... but it won't
> > be funny in the long term.
> It wasn't supposed to be a joke. Bikeshed is an appropriate name, in
> the unix tradition of mildly amusing/punny names.
Which tradition would that be?
Out of the few hundred or so Unix  and GNU  commands listed on
Wikipedia, the only vaguely amusing/punning names I can find are tac
("cat" backwards) and pinky (a lightweight "finger").
RFC 1178 ("Choosing a Name for Your Computer", a reprint from a CACM
article) has some good advice about picking hostnames. Some of it is
applicable to picking names for software, too, including:
Don't overload other terms already in common use.
Using a word that has strong semantic implications in the
current context will cause confusion. This is especially true
in conversation where punctuation is not obvious and grammar is
For example, a distributed database had been built on top of
several computers. Each one had a different name. One machine
was named "up", as it was the only one that accepted updates.
Conversations would sound like this: "Is up down?" and "Boot
the machine up." followed by "Which machine?"
While it didn't take long to catch on and get used to this
zaniness, it was annoying when occasionally your mind would
stumble, and you would have to stop and think about each word
in a sentence. It is as if, all of a sudden, English has
become a foreign language.
Don't use antagonistic or otherwise embarrassing names.
Words like "moron" or "twit" are good names if no one else is
going to see them. But if you ever give someone a demo on your
machine, you may find that they are distracted by seeing a
nasty word on your screen. (Maybe their spouse called them
that this morning.) Why bother taking the chance that they
will be turned off by something completely irrelevant to your
Use words/names that are rarely used.
While a word like "typical" or "up" (see above) isn't computer
jargon, it is just too likely to arise in discussion and throw
off one's concentration while determining the correct referent.
Instead, use words like "lurch" or "squire" which are unlikely
to cause any confusion.
You might feel it is safe to use the name "jose" just because
no one is named that in your group, but you will have a problem
if you should happen to hire Jose. A name like "sphinx" will
be less likely to conflict with new hires.