What's in a name?
Johan Van Schalkwyk
Mon, 7 Nov 1994 23:48:28 +1300 (NZDT)
This letter has two (related) subjects:
2. A name.
I'm still not sure about the long term goals of the (tunes) project. What
do we really want to do?
- just have a bit of fun writing YET ANOTHER "O/S"
(however smart, cute, fast, etc)?
- make a really significant contribution to "o/s" design?
- kick Mickeysoft up the a*** by writing such a hot-shit system
with universal application that everyone leaps on the
bandwagon and uses it extensively on their PCs
- slavishly pay tribute to some "object-oriented" paradigm simply
because it seems like a good idea..
I believe that for "our" project to have any impact whatsoever (surely
what we are really looking for is IMPACT), it must have two components:
a. Good design that really works for the end user!
b. It must sell well.
Considering these in turn, the "good design" implies tight explicit
coding, with simple strategies that are readily portable, and culminate
on the top level in an intuitive and user-friendly interface. A wide
variety of really good applications must be available to run on it, and
new applications must be easily developed / imported from other systems.
I think that it would also be advisable to identify certain strategic
"niche" applications that one can create, positioning them so that one
can later bridge these to create a more comprehensve system. One should
also identify certain key components without which no-one will want to
use the system.
"It must sell well" implies that the product we are creating MUST have
- It must be readily identifiable
- We must position it in the market so that it occupies clear
"niches" or has well-demarcated attributes that make it
desirable (People must want to use it because it does
certain things that are not readily available on current
Consider Windoze: we all know its a _dog_, its only advantage being that
it is moderately less user-hostile than the programming atrocities that
preceded it.. Why has it sold so well - (1) good marketing hype (2) it
has certain attributes that are desirable - its clumsy GUI, its primitive
multi-tasking, etc. (3) Microsoft have clout. Nevertheless, you cannot
ignore its success.
If we are going to make a success of our "project"
then we cannot employ a shotgun approach - we must carefully identify
those areas where:
a. there is a need, and
b. we have expertise
and exploit these to their full potential.
2. What's in a name?
No component of a "marketing strategy" is more important than the name of
the item. If you are called "Eastern Airlines" you _will not_ succeed in
the West. If you are called "Time" you will have to spend more on
advertising than if you are called "NewsWeek"!
Should we not identify our "overall strategy" and then choose a name for
the project that is consistent with that strategy rather than choosing
arbitrary smart-sounding acronyms? I still maintain that MOOSE sounds
like a program for cataloguing bovine diseases. TUNES is a bit better,
but what is your first reaction when you hear the word. Yes, maybe
something catchy, but does it make your prospective "purchaser" feel
good? Does it tell him/her a lot about the system? Or does it simply
sound like another setup for running a Sound Blaster?
Run a few of the names of languages, operating systems etc over your
vocal apparatus. FORTRAN? (Anyone remember those old mechanical adding
machines? I could imagine them making a noise like CRANK, CRANK,
KERCHUNK, KERCHUNK, FORTRAN). LISP (Yeth, well, definitely not
mainthtream). BASIC - good feel to it, nice name, should do well, but
wait a bit, you want to do something serious in it ... hmmn, no, a bit
too basic). UNIX - sounds fairly slick, nice ring - unitary etc. If you
know a bit more, nice play on MULTICS, but that takes you back a bit).
APL - how bloody boring, this one won't catch on. PL1? Sounds big, ugly
and cumbersome. SNOBOL ? This one doesn't have a snowball's hope in hell
of catching on (snotball?). And so on... Have fun. Try a few more...
2.1 Any comments?
Bye for now, JVS.