Open Source Projects Sell Naming Rights

Fake News written by James Baughn on Wednesday, August 22, 2001

from the make-money-fast dept.

Need money quick to finance your open source project? Don't bother with banner ads, or T-shirts, or virtual donation boxes. Just sell the naming rights to your software project on eBay.

"If you look at Freshmeat, most projects have a really stupid name like 'Nonsense', 'Mono', 'fetchmail', or 'GIMP'," exclaimed Raymond S. Eric. "Why not sell your project's name to the highest bidder? It will still have a stupid name, but at least you'll get some scratch for it."

RSE added, "I keep telling people it's possible to make money from open source. Well, here you go!"

One plucky open-source programmer auctioned the naming rights to his Java Virtual Machine project on eBay. He received $1,210.24 in exchange for changing the name to 'starbucks'.

The programmer said, "Hey, if parents can sell the naming rights of their children to the highest corporate bidder, then why not auction off open-source names? The company gets free advertising throughout the Linux community, and I get beer money. It's a win-win situation."

Project titles aren't the only thing up for grabs. In a desperate attempt to stay in the black, Red Hat has announced that certain programs bundled with the distro will have their names changed in exchange for cash. For example, 'grep' will become 'google', 'mail' will become 'fedex', and 'ispell' will become 'webster'.

Red Hat also hopes that companies will sponsor certain features within the operating system. For example, when the kernel boots, the fsck program might announce, "fsck version 1.2.3 sponsored by Western Digital Hard Drivers". Or the 'mv' command might say, "That mv operation was brought to you by North-Northeast Airlines... mving you through the friendly skies for over 4 years."

Man pages, FAQs, and HOWTOs might include shameless promotions, such as, "Getting-Netscape-To-Run-Without-Crashing Not-So-Mini-HOWTO... Sponsored by Opera."

While the new Red Hat policy has sparked some controversy, particularly among Slashdot's resident class of armchair naysayers, a spokesperson was quick to point out that the company has set strict limits on what it will and won't sell to the highest bidder. "We're not going to try to change the name of the kernel. It won't be called 'Lennox'. Or 'Linux Sponsored By Lennox'. And we definitely won't call it 'GNU/Linux'."

RHAT stock was up $0.000001 in light trading at the closing bell today.

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