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On 02/10/10 23:41, Mirek M. wrote:

Well, "Open Office" was usually the spoken term used to refer to, and I'd say that's much easier to pronounce than
LibreOffice. And it flows much more nicely.
"LibreOffice" is hard to pronounce the French way because there are two
(written) vowels next to each other. That's one thing the French language
tries to avoid, by having special forms for the few adjectives that come
before nouns that start with a vowel, like "bel", "vieil", and "nouvel". So
LibreOffice doesn't really fit in with French pronunciation either...

But you don't need professionals to know if a name sounds good. I'd say
"Firefox" and "Inkscape" are great names, but I'm sure those projects didn't
spend millions of dollars on coming up with a name. And just look at how the
name "Google" came about: it was made up by a daughter of a mathematician.

I liked it, too, at first, but I'm afraid that pronunciation will be an

Anyway, if nobody else thinks it's an issue, then it should stay.

Hmm, I joined the list to find out about compiling the source, but this discussion took my interest. Apologies for butting in late.

Names are a hard thing, but one lesson I have learned in 30 years of software development is: for widespread acceptance a good name matters much more than good content. (Sad but true.)

Examples: "Object-oriented programming" : All the ideas were there in Simula 67 (yes, that's 1967), but until the cool name, OOP, was invented, no one took any notice. Then "Extreme programming", "Open Office", "relational database" (just a cool name for the bad idea of busting up all the objects and losing the natural hierarchies). I could think of dozens if I spent another ten minutes at it.

Another key lesson: Insiders are very, VERY bad at picking good names for their own 'children'.

This is not meant as an insult, but the key movers and shakers here, to whom we all owe the very existence of this wonderful project, are most likely the least able to judge a good name.

And "LibreOffice" is a very poor name.


1/ "Libre" is an insider's term. Ask any but a romance language speaker or a free software supporter what it means. Seriously, ask your mum, your boss, your students, the guy serving at the local deli. The name is doomed to misunderstanding and obscurity. Geeks will give you lots of good feedback and you'll judge you got it right, but you haven't, and you need to actually try the little experiment I just gave if you want to see why.

2/ As Mirek explains, the pronunciation breaks the rules, and showing disrespect for the rules of the linguistic source of a term doesn't seem like a sensitive or a politically wise thing to do.

3/ Also as Mirek points out, the adjacent vowels make the word hard to roll off the tongue by a speaker of any language. (It occurs to me as I write this that (2) and (3) could be fixed by calling it "OfficeLibre".)

Thus my only disagreement with Mirek's comments: "If nobody else thinks it's an issue..." - the people here (again, with apologies) are all self-selected for their in-depth knowledge of the field, love of the software, love of the ideals, and understanding of the jargon. All of us (myself included) are almost certain to have a useless opinion on what would actually be a good name.

So, this is just a recommendation, but one which I know is worth doubling the support base: Get a better name. Even something pedestrian like "Free Office" would do much better. And of course, if someone could conjure up that rare animal, the magic name, well who knows...?

And PS: Don't worry about having already announced the name: it was stated it was temporary and it's a name destined for forgetability in any case.

Ron House
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