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On Sunday 03 Oct 2010 14:35:19 Ron House wrote:
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

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 speaks well, the only issue is coming up with something else.  It may 
default to LibreOffice simply for lack of a better idea.

That would be tragic.  I wasn't going to comment on this until I came up with 
a reasonable alternative that is not already encumbered in some way.  
Unfortunately I'm empty of ideas.

The other issue is of course is that in true FOSS fashion, if the decision was 
to look elsewhere the argument would go on for months.   Sun hired a company 
to do promotional work a year or two ago, perhaps we could ask them to come up 
with a shortlist.... as a donation of course, looking to a possibility of paid 
promotional work in the future.

I do however  like the short version: LibO


Graham Lauder, MarCon (Marketing Contact) NZ Migration and training Consultant.

INGOTs Assessor Trainer
(International Grades in Open Technologies)
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