MozillaZine

Full Article Attached Mozilla Looking to Forge Alliances with GNOME and Other Open Source Projects to Combat Longhorn

Tuesday April 6th, 2004

jgraham writes: "Brendan Eich has written an interesting post to the netscape.public.mozilla.seamonkey newsgroup outlining some of the plans being made to ensure that Mozilla technology remains useful and relevant in the future. Brendan sees Mozilla developing into an open cross-platform alternative to forthcoming Microsoft technologies such as XAML and is looking to collaborate with other open-source projects to make this happen." The GNOME project is mentioned explicitly. Brendan's message is part of a longer thread about the goals of mozilla.org.


#62 Re: XML UI Language == XUL

by voracity

Thursday April 8th, 2004 12:11 AM

You are replying to this message

If you mean create an acronym (form from the initial letters of other words), then XML-UIL would appear to be what you are looking for.

If you truly mean abbreviate, then you could shorten something in a whole heap of ways. One of those ways (XUL) was used by the mozilla developers to name their particular user interface language. Being imaginative, they made this name up all by themselves. Once the name was chosen, they wrote code to handle the XUL syntax, made sure files containing such syntax ended in .xul, and wrote documentation on the XUL syntax. (I also think they discussed making the XUL syntax a w3c ratified spec, but I'm not sure where this went.) In short time, it was well-established that "XUL" was the name of the syntax used by mozilla developers to describe user interfaces. That is, XUL meant the XUL syntax.

Then you decided the term "XUL" was a good name to refer to *any possible* user interface language. And it is, too. But the term "XUL" already had a well-defined meaning; it can't refer to *any possible* XML-UIL and a *particular* XML-UIL at the same time. Thus, there are 3 possibilities: the mozilla developers rename the XUL syntax (new filename extensions, new documentation, new website names, etc.); you use a different name for XML-UILs; or we allow confusion to prosper (e.g. "No, no. I don't mean any XUL. I mean Mozilla's XUL. You know, XUL XUL. There's a difference.")

Names are arbitrary; you could call XML-UILs 'interlingos' or even 'babchicks'. But a well-chosen name is 1) mnemonic, 2) well-defined and 3) unique. Presumably you jumped on XUL because it satisfies (1), not caring that it violated (2) and did not satisfy (3). However, there are plenty of candidates that satisfy all three properties: XUI, XIL, UIL, UL, XUIL, XWL (widgets), XFL (forms), XInterface, XFace, XFront, etc. One just needs an imagination.

What makes your behaviour so disappointing is that Mozilla hasn't the ability to protect the name it chose - further reason to trademarking everything.