[openstack-dev] [OpenStack Foundation] [tc] Take back the naming process

James E. Blair corvus at inaugust.com
Wed Jan 28 03:35:51 UTC 2015

Lauren Sell <lauren at openstack.org> writes:

> Hey Monty,
> I’d like to weigh in here, because I think there have been some
> misunderstandings around Lemming-gate. I’m glad you raised your
> concerns; it’s a good test of release naming for us all to discuss and
> learn from.
> To provide a little context for those new to the discussion,
> historically, when it’s time to name the development cycle, open
> suggestions are taken on a wiki page
> (https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Release_Naming) after which the
> Technical Committee works to create a short list that are then voted
> on by the entire community. Typically, Foundation staff play a role in
> this process to work with our trademark counsel to vet the release
> names. We register them to ensure our rights, and they become
> significant brands for the OpenStack community, as well as all of the
> companies who are building and marketing their products on
> OpenStack. One of the names that was proposed for the L development
> cycle was Lemming.
> So little-known fact, I’m actually a huge fan of rodents (I’ve had
> several pet rats), but I’m afraid the name Lemming conjures up more
> than a small mammal. The dictionary.com definition is "a member of any
> large group following an unthinking course towards mass destruction,"
> or if you prefer Urban Dictionary, “a member of a crowd with no
> originality or voice of his own. One who speaks or repeats only what
> he has been told. A tool. A cretin.”
> When I heard that Lemming was a consideration, I was a bit
> concerned. Most of all, I care about and am protective of this
> community, and I think that would paint us with a pretty big / easy
> target. Regardless, I did the due diligence with our trademark
> counsel, and they provided the following feedback: “The proposed
> trademark LEMMING cleared our preliminary search for the usual
> goods/services, subject to the usual limitations.  The majority of
> applications/registrations that others have filed for the term are
> dead (no pun intended).  I take this to mean the brand generally has
> problems in the marketplace due to negative connotation.”
> So, I reached out to Thierry and a few of the TC members to share my
> perspective and concern from a marketing standpoint. I have a lot of
> respect for you and this community, and I would hate to jeopardize the
> perception of your work. I am very sensitive to the fact that I do not
> have a magical marketing veto; I was simply providing feedback and
> trying to bring another perspective to the conversation. My sense from
> talking to them was that Lemming was kind of a joke and not a serious
> option. I also read the notes of the following TC meeting, and it
> didn’t seem like there was much of an issue...so I stopped worrying
> about it.
> (TC meeting notes for reference, you can search Lemming in this
> discussion:
> http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/meetings/tc/2015/tc.2015-01-13-20.01.log.txt)
> Anyhow, it seems like it’s boiled into a larger issue, and I’m more
> than happy to have the discussion and get more input. I stand by my
> advice and hope our community leaders will make a reasonable
> decision. I certainly don’t want to take the fun out of release
> naming, but at the end of the day we are all pretty fortunate and have
> quite a bit of fun as part of this community. I was just trying to
> protect it.

I said "lemming" three times in that meeting, (which is three times more
than anyone else), so I should probably respond here.

That meeting was the first time I heard about the disappearance of
Lemming from the list.  I did not feel that the way in which it happened
was in accordance with the way we expected the process to operate.
Nonetheless, due to the vagaries of the current process and out of a
desire to avoid further delay in naming the Lemming release, I chose not
to argue for the inclusion of Lemming in the poll.  I continue to hold
that position, and I am not advocating that we include it now.

I think the best way to move forward and prevent future
misunderstandings is to clarify the process in the way that Monty
suggested and begin using it starting with the Miyazaki release.



I will, however, vociferously defend Lemmings themselves.  They are the
subject of widely-held misconceptions which have resulted in contempt
and outright animal cruelty.  Please see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming#Misconceptions and particularly the

  A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, 'Cruel Camera', found
  the lemmings used for 'White Wilderness' were flown from Hudson Bay to
  Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but
  were in fact forced off the cliff by the camera crew.

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