It’s getting about time to figure out a name for the successor to License Zero, which I described in a blog post last week.
To recap, on branding specifically: I think License Zero did a lot to emphasize valid criticism of the way things go in software right now, reflecting lived experience for a lot of developers in a way they hadn’t seen before. It was a bit angry. It was a bit punk rock. It was dark, black-and-white, and austere. All of that lent itself to the feeling of overdue, open confronting with persistent unfairness in the industry. That was real.
It was also pretty one-sided. It told the kind of story that aggrieved developers wanted to hear when signing up. But not a story that potential users of their work really wanted to hear when buying a license. Even if they were buying a license in partial recognition of the unfairness behind taken head-on.
I think it’s time for the new, evolved platform to focus more on the alternative it has to offer, on the principles of fairness and reciprocity that it stands for, rather than on criticisms of the status quo. I don’t think it should go full-on bright colors and smiling professionals in stock photos. The point isn’t to sell anything to The Enterprise. But it should feel less sharp, less blunt, and more constructive. I’d like to emphasize that the invitation to buy a license for a project is also an invitation to run the same model for your own worthy projects.
I’ve been keeping a running list of themes that might yield a name. Of course, in this day and age, the trick is often finding an available .com. But I find it’s helpful to mull over a theme before finding a specific instance of it in an available name.
In any event, here’s a list. I’d love to know what stands out to people, in a good way or a bad way. And I’d love more suggestions, if any jump to mind.
- Vending Machine
- Iron Ranger
- Fair Trade
- Farmers’ Market
- Honor System / Honor Code / Honor Roll
- Indie Code
- Gainful Employment
- Honest Pay for Honest Work
- Toolbox, Toolkit, Tool Cage
- Tool and Die
- Part Shop
- Proof of Payment
I’ve also kept a list of more or less generic add-on words. These could be useful later, in moving from a theme to an available name: