#457 Naming the Fan language

jodastephen Thu 12 Feb 2009

This is quite controversial, but I thought we should at least discuss it whilst we still have a small window to change. I'm talking about renaming the language.


The key reason is that "Fan" is useless for Googling. What's more, this will never improve, as there will always be fans of celebrities etc. Even worse, is that "Fan language" doesn't improve the hit ratio, as that has a meaning too. In fact, its very hard to know what to search for to find references to Fan.

I want Fan to be successful, but that means growing dramatically from where it currently is. To achieve that will require developers to be able to find information about the language, and that means Google.

I don't believe its too late to change the name (you may disagree). I do believe that once we hit v1.0, and give the talks in March it probably will be too late.

To collect opinions in a private way, I've setup a poll. Please take the time to vote:

Poll on the name of the Fan language

I'll report back on the results after a few days.

cgrinds Thu 12 Feb 2009

I agree - Ease of goggling should be considered.

FWIW when I presented Fan to the RDU barcamp last year several folks raised the same issue.

andy Thu 12 Feb 2009

I agree a more unique name would have helped. But I think this is largely a time issue - as Fan becomes more popular, it will drift up the Google rankings.

Googling for me:

  • "fan" - no where to be seen (to be expected)
  • "fan language" - #4 hit
  • "fan programming language" - #1 hit

So while I don't think a name change is needed, I'm open to suggestions.

jodastephen Thu 12 Feb 2009

"fan language" - #4 hit

What matters is not what ranking this site gets, but what ranking all the minor blogs referencing Fan get. That is how Tiobe and similar operate, and where the bulk of knowledge about a language is (ie. most information about Java isn't found on java.sun.com, similarly with Scala or Groovy)

helium Thu 12 Feb 2009

I suggest to rename Fan to The. As Tiobe searches for "<language> programming" The will allways be the top language.

brian Thu 12 Feb 2009

Our logs show most traffic coming from blog links and googling for the term "Fan programming" or "Fan language". Second in ranking tends to be Java/C# interop queries. Side note: we get a lot of queries regarding Java/Linux timezone problems.

There is no reason to think that with popularity, Fan won't become the top hit (in some countries when looking thru the logs, it appears on first page already). However I agree for non-linked traffic the term "Fan" sucks.

So while I've grown fond of the name "Fan", I am not opposed to changing it. To me the main incentive for changing it is coming up with another really cool name.

We have a pretty big investment in the term "fan" through the code, tools, and website. So ideally we want to have a name where the term "fan" continues to make sense in the package names, tools, etc.

Otherwise if we wanted a completely new name and it was cool, then I would consider the investment to rework everything to use a new term, but my requirement is that it (or a sensible abbreviation) is 4 chars or less. But the new name has to be rocking for me to put that kind of time into renaming everything.

So it really comes down to what the new name is. I don't really like your proposed alternatives Stephen (good try though :). So I would say to move this issue forward we need some serious name brainstorming.

If you propose a name longer then 4 chars, then propose an abbreviation we can use for the tool names. For example "fan" maps to "fant", "fanp", "fand", "fwt", etc.

If someone comes up with the winning name and Fan ever gets popular you'll have a little piece of history :-)

cgrinds Thu 12 Feb 2009

Off the top of my head:

  • fava
  • flan
  • brz
  • pnu
  • jsl
  • fua
  • fuby

jakb Thu 12 Feb 2009

goo hits

* fan 515,000,000 (wow...)

* fava 3.670.000
* flan 3,590,000 (my favorit)
* brz 3,010,000 
* pnu 892,000
* jsl 1,060,000
* fua 1,590,000
* fuby 1,250,000

unbelivable how many hits you get for those partly funny names.

jakb Thu 12 Feb 2009

btw. what do you think of the name


for "new java", "nujava" as in "nufunk"

just 680,000 google hits :-)

jodastephen Thu 12 Feb 2009

The problem with extending Fan and then using a short form for the tools is that you almost always hit "fanny" (which needs avoiding...)

My favourites are Favira and Fariva, as they flow quite nicely (BTW, good product names are typically thought to end in a vowel as it makes it easier for latin language speakers).

If you chose Favira or Fariva, you could leave the other tool names alone because the meaning of Favira/Fariva is Fan-Richmond-Virginia, so it is a shorthand.

Fanla and Fanya are other good options, however they are both currently domain blocked.

Another direction to think is a prefix to Fan, such as Tuffan (toughen).

JohnDG Thu 12 Feb 2009

I don't think it needs a new name as numerous languages have horribly common names and still manage to survive thanks to the suffix "programming language" and the wonders of Google (Ruby, Logo, Fortress, Joy, Curry, Funnel, Plan, Groovy, Self, etc.).

That said, Fan is designed to combine some features of Java and C# and to run on both JRE and CIL platforms, so a name to reflect that might be appropriate. e.g.:

  • Jarp
  • Javarp
  • Cava

The more nonsensical, the better as far as Google goes.

Then again, you've already registered "Fandev" so perhaps the name of the language could be "Fandev". :-)

alexlamsl Thu 12 Feb 2009

Anything along the lines of Natural Language or Universal Language that is short and sounds cool? :-)

P.S. renaming it to "li", and we get...

lit lip lid lwt ...

brian Thu 12 Feb 2009

I don't particularly love any of those names. Favira and Fariva are ok, although they don't roll off the tongue very easy when said out load. Jarp is ok, although in general I would like to avoid anything designed to sound like or be derived from "Java" since that is a trademark Sun is pretty protective of.

A dump of some of the random code names we've considered for various projects:

  • frak (maybe not, but funny if you watch BSG, was my working name for flux)
  • mirth
  • ficus
  • mojo
  • mason
  • fluid
  • fjord

Some code names we are using in Bespin:

  • axon
  • fresco
  • folio

Other thoughts - maybe FAN is an acronym for three words something?

freddy33 Thu 12 Feb 2009

I really think the name should be changed. A lot of pages talking about Fan will not contain "programming" or "language" and will be hard to find.

My favorites so far:

  • Phan (Nice place in Vietnam, match the idea of an island with coffee :)
  • Fandev (strange but may work no?)
  • Wafo (Just like the sound of it :): 69,100 hits

jodastephen Thu 12 Feb 2009

One possibly useful tool: http://www.naming.net/

Searches should also be done on number of google hits, including "xxx programming", "xxx language", "xxx java". Ideally, there needs to be no sign of any previous computer/software type work using the name.

Finally, a domain name is important - either xxx.org, or xxx-lang.org.

(Fariva happens to be very good on all these measures)

emorning Fri 13 Feb 2009

How about fanl (short for FAN Language)? Only 1,640,000 hits.

Or fanel, where the L is spelled phonetically. Only 245,000 hits.

Or prefix the word language with fan to get... fanguage Only 2,260 hits!

I also like the previous suggestion of phan.

geekycoder Fri 13 Feb 2009

Since Fan get the best ideas and inspirations from its progenitors, Java and C#, it will be better if it uses a name that is meaningful and marketable, and reflects its heritage.

I thought renaming as Cava# programming language sounds appropiate. This is not yet taken and Google yet to show this term yet.

Java + C# = Cava#

The # is used to prevent sound similarity of Java so to avoid Sun's displeasure, and putting # also means that it sways different from naming convention of Microsoft language (C#, F#, J#), making it more distinguishable from the current pack of languages.

www.cavasharp.org ?

Cava# Programming Language

brian Fri 13 Feb 2009

I am not particularly thrilled with any of those names. After sleeping on, I think if we are going to change the name then we should pick something extremely unique in Google space such that virtually all queries actually reference Fan. That eliminates any real word.

I think Stephan's proposed Fariva is probably the one I like best so far. It lets us keep the tools named "fan" (although that might be confusing). And we will probably quickly own that term in Google space. But it isn't quite growing on me.

I like some of the Java/C# derivatives ok like jarp and cava. Although I don't love cava per se, I kind of like the -ava ending. Maybe fanava?

I don't like using a symbol like # or sharp. It annoys me to no end that Microsoft used dot and sharp in the names of programming technologies which require translation into alphanumeric identifiers. If we did use sharp, I think the simplest thing would just be Fan#. But I really don't like it.

I've been trying to think of some more fanciful names which might utilize core "fan", kind of like the fanguage idea. I keep coming back to fangaroo.

Let's keep the name ideas coming!

alexlamsl Fri 13 Feb 2009

  • fanto (one of the names I'm planning to call my library...)
  • fanan
  • fandover
  • fanpl (654 on Google)

tompalmer Fri 13 Feb 2009

How about Fanzi? I was just picking letters, but it's a real word and there are still 44K hits. But that's nowhere near as common as Fan (and less common than Fariva, too), and skimming the Wikipedia article, it looks like a stinking cool word, too.

And it has that no-need-to-rename-tools prefix goodness.

tompalmer Fri 13 Feb 2009

I also think just sticking to Fan is okay, too, by the way.

jodastephen Fri 13 Feb 2009

The poll results so far:

Additional name suggestions from the poll (not published online):

  • fanz
  • fann
  • bingo
  • fandoon
  • farloom
  • fantop
  • faniro
  • fanlang
  • wafo
  • ojete
  • faen
  • fand (fan district)
  • fandi
  • fandis
  • finc
  • fertang
  • zelonka
  • famara
  • fava
  • fantar
  • fajina
  • phfan
  • fã
  • zeekov
  • fangritche (no hit, hyperion character (The Gritche)
  • fanel
  • farva

Other comments:

  • no idea but I believe googling should be considered
  • something that starts with fan...
  • something completely unrelated to Fan or synonyms of fan
  • two syllables or less please

cheeser Fri 13 Feb 2009


What do I win? A plush doll? Free trip to the buffet bar at the sizzler?


mmmm. waffles. wait. what? oh. :(


Makes me think of eggs. I'm seeing a theme here. Maybe I shouldn't do this so close to meal time...




As in, the bean? Doesn't the programming world have enough bean puns already?


A categorical hell no from me on that one. :) I do like the name fan (easy to pun...) but it is hard to google. However, make sure that if you make up a word or borrow an obscure one, make sure it's not something flaky. For example, the JSF team chose "mojarra" for JSF2. And every time I hear it, I see Bruce Lee stomping on a white guy and some chinese guy uttering, "Ohara's treachery has disgraced us." I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't get too cute with the name.


Makes me think of the idiot in Super Troopers. Though I suppose that really just means I watch too many movies...


or maybe fennel almost came up in the list. Nice sounding. Think of the antibotic/medicinal puns on that one, eh? Java has beans/coffee, Fennel would have curing the sick! :)

Given the use of the term "pod" and the overuse of the bean meme, we should look into whale/oceanographic related names. Narwahl!

freddy33 Fri 13 Feb 2009

Never thought about it, but from my point-of-view (Israel :) "fanan" is just perfect... It means fun, good. It made me smile as soon as I saw it!

f00biebletch Sat 14 Feb 2009

Being a resident of the Fan like Brian and Andy, changing the name of the language never occurred to me. However, I was talking to a friend today who is big into Erlang, Prolog, and hating Java, and the lack of a catchy name for Fan was I think a bit of a barrier to getting his attention about the language.

While verbal communication is nothing compared to googling, it still would have been nice to have a more potent name. Well, anything but fajina.

jodastephen Sat 14 Feb 2009

I think if we are going to change the name then we should pick something extremely unique in Google space


I don't like using a symbol like # or sharp


I kind of like the -ava ending

Sun blocked the European Java conference from being Javoxx, so effectively they seem to be claiming three letters from the four in Java somehow. We might get away with an -ava suffix, but there is some risk.

I think Stephan's proposed Fariva is probably the one I like best so far

I've also found that if you say the a very quickly in such a way that it almost isn't there you end up with two syllables instead of three - kindof f'ree-va.

BTW, va typically means go (move, progress) in latin languages, which is quite positive.

freddy33 Sat 14 Feb 2009

+1 I don't like #. Fariva sounds warm and cool to my ears, and meet all criteria (even the -ava sounds).

thatguydrinksbeer Sat 14 Feb 2009

It's nice to see the sales team showed up to focus on what is really important.

cow Sat 14 Feb 2009


It's unfortunate that someone's used Kava for a Java dialect already.

Kava is:

  • a real word, but one that's not overly common -- "kava language" could become a useful search relatively quickly
  • like "Java", the name of a brewed drink - think of all the java/bean/coffee/cafe/etc jokes that can be adjusted/reused/parodied
  • catchy
  • "Java" with the first letter advanced, so there's a C -> C++ kind of "incremental improvement" vibe there
  • both a mind-altering drug and a medicine used "against stress, insomnia, and anxiety" -- like that suffered by many Java developers?

A little twee, perhaps, but I like it... so "Kava" if you're willing to step on the toes of the guy who came up with the other dialect, or "Cava" if you want to get creative with spelling.

freddy33 Sun 15 Feb 2009

One issue with Favira: It's too long! So, the F_riva pronunciation can help. Anyway, Yoav suggested me: Faan It matches the need, and I like it.

tactics Sun 15 Feb 2009

What about Fann with two ns? It seems pretty Googleable. The fann.* domain names are all taken though.

jodastephen Mon 16 Feb 2009

The main objection to Fariva seems to be it being too long (three syllables). Omitting the a when you say it, F'riva, had some appeal. But we can actually do better than that:

Friva (pronounce free-va)

Its an available domain name, and has even less hits than Fariva. Fan's tools would become Fridoc, Frit, Frip, Frid, Fwt.

And if you're still looking for alternate ideas, Frilang and Firlang would work UK too (domain available, low hits and reminder of Erlang). I happen to prefer Friva because it has a similar ending to Java.

skybrian Mon 16 Feb 2009

The name "Fan" is already well-known and it's going to be hard for another name to stick. I like the suggestion of spelling it "Fann" which mostly solves the problem without changing the pronunciation.

brian Tue 17 Feb 2009

It has been a pretty awesome turn out on this discussion. At the very least this post will be a good place to find ideas for code names for future Fan based projects (who is going to create the Fanjina project?).

I would say my favorite ones so far:

  • Friva (I like this better then the original Fariva and Favari)
  • Fantom
  • Fango
  • Fanzi

I am still not sure I love any of them enough to rename the project - I'm a bit on the fence.

celeron504 Tue 17 Feb 2009

Whle I still like Fan, how about a:

  • Fan PL
  • FanCode
  • FanCe

My 2 cents,

I would like a shot at the logo too..

jodastephen Tue 17 Feb 2009

Yes, lots of interesting ideas.

I checked some names for multi-language issues by asking native Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu and Norwegian speakers. Friva, Fantom, Fango, Fanzi and Fan had no issues in these languages. However, Faan sounds like f**k in Norwegian, so thats ruled out.

Brian, of the four you've mentioned my take would be

  • Friva - my favourite
  • Fantom - might imply you're not actually getting anything or its dead (phantom), like a phantom reference
  • Fango - sounds like quango (a semi-separate Government organisation)
  • Fanzi - sounds like banzai or fanzine (magazine for fans)

Is there anything that would convince you to make a change? If help was offered to change hg?

jbwiv Tue 17 Feb 2009

I'm not sure I like any of these better than Fan. Fan is simple and clean in look, and easy to say and process. I agree with avoiding things like # and . in names, and am equally frustrated with Microsoft's bewildering choices in this area.

However, java, ruby, groovy, python, etc all were common words before they became languages, all are pretty easy to search through Google now. As fan becomes more popular, it will be too. Count me a fan of fan ;)

freddy33 Tue 17 Feb 2009

Not so sure about ability to ever google fan. Even Java (way the most popular) as "only" 407 millions pages in google, while Fan has already 511 :( Fan, is also a air mover, and this is getting in the middle of a lot of searches.

You never like a name on the first time. You need to get used to it, and I start to enjoy the "Friva" feeling :)

jbwiv Tue 17 Feb 2009

Friva sounds like a citrus-y carbonated diet soda. Wait, that's Fresca...

But I agree with you. Names tend to grow on you with use.

How about funky...groovier than groovy? You could even spell it funke for better googling. ;-)

cheeser Tue 17 Feb 2009

Friva is probably the better of all the options I've seen so far. I do like Fan, though. And Friva makes me want to ask my doctor if it's right for me.

brian Wed 18 Feb 2009

Is there anything that would convince you to make a change? If help was offered to change hg?

I think the names we are narrowing things down to all let us continue to use the term "fan" as file extensions, in our tool names, etc. I think this is pretty important. So the majority of work is in documentation changes which shouldn't be too bad. So I am not too worried about the work.

To me it is really just about the name itself - are these names better than Fan? Without a doubt they are better for Googling which is an important criteria. But it isn't the only criteria. Remember Andy and I have been using the name Fan for three and half years now, so it is deeply ingrained for us.

Right now I would say Friva pronounced "Free-Va" is probably my top pick.

Honestly I am still on the fence, in which case I would probably defer to Andy. But last time I talked to Andy about it, he was pretty against a name change.

jbwiv Wed 18 Feb 2009

Please, please...if it's between Friva and Fan...stay with where you are. Fan is great in relation. Fan isn't that bad period, really. I rather like it.

alexlamsl Wed 18 Feb 2009

After going through all these - I think I would vote back for Fan instead. It is still the best name that sticks to my head.

jodastephen Wed 18 Feb 2009

Without a doubt they are better for Googling which is an important criteria. But it isn't the only criteria. Remember Andy and I have been using the name Fan for three and half years now, so it is deeply ingrained for us.

I think we all understand the difficulty you face with this. All I can do is provide the logical arguments and facts.

48% of voters in the poll stated that they didn't like the name (32% a little, 16% a lot) vs 36% that do (24% don't mind, 12% like it).

Fan is currently on page 24 of google.

Fan currently has an alexa rank of 2.7 million (1 is the busiest site). The top hit for "fan" on google currently has an alexa rank of 360. (Page rank doesn't seem detailed enough to give a real result).

For comparison, Scala and Clojure both rank about 270,000 on alexa. Even if Fan reaches that level it is unlikely that it will make it to the google first search result page.

As such, as far as everyone else who isn't on this forum is concerned, the current name of fan is "fan language", something that is quite a mouthful.

The hard part about this is thinking not about what we want, but thinking what everyone else wants from a name. And, like it or not, Google defines that now.

(just for the record, the top hit for "Friva" currently has an alexa page rank of 13.3 million, so a change of name to that is almost guaranteed to mean domain "ownership")

freddy33 Wed 18 Feb 2009

Totally agree: The main issue is that the poll should be done among developers that don't know about Fan. We need to try this in future tech meetings.

jbwiv Wed 18 Feb 2009

Google python. Google ruby. Both python.org and ruby-lang.org both have the top spots. Neither languages enjoy unique spellings that would prevent them from conflicting with other queries, but it doesn't matter. Their popularity has insured their ranking.

I understand the desire to have something that won't collide with other queries, but it's worth noting that it's not crucial to success of the language. Build a stable platform, create a killer app (like Rails was for Ruby) and the ranking will come.

jodastephen Wed 18 Feb 2009

Google python. Google ruby. Both python.org and ruby-lang.org both have the top spots.

True. But unfortunately the word "fan" has a much broader reach than "ruby" (as a gem) or "python" (as an animal). People will always be fan's of people and things, and the broad range of that entertainment industry, and the broad range of low-level blogs that feed it, will always mess up the word "fan" for searches. Plus of course you've got those trying to sell you a "fan" (physical implement).

As I said at the start, this isn't about how well this website does. This website will migrate upwards OK over time. The problem is how on earth all the thousands of other blogs and other community efforts about the language will be found through the huge amount of background noise. And its those blogs and forums where the real community lies, and the real ability to find language success lies (through example code, bug reports, solutions to problems etc)

Anyway, I've probably said enough on this topic, and I guess really its Brian and Andy's decision now.

jbwiv Wed 18 Feb 2009

All good points jodastephen.


jodastephen Wed 18 Feb 2009

I promised I wouldn't, but Fred asked for external referencess: http://markmail.org/message/in4mpua6lipammxm

Rather than discussing the pros and cons of the language, the first comment back, and the next reply, were:

"Mauvais choix de nom pour remonter dans les moteurs de recherche ;)" "pas faux"

which translated means roughly:

"Poor choice of name to go in search engines. " "not wrong there"

(I came across this because I'm trying to setup a Google Alert to find occurrences when people mention Fan on the web. The best search I can come up with that isn't total garbage is "fan programming language", but even that picks up everyone that is a "fan" of another "programming language"...)

brian Thu 19 Feb 2009

These are my thoughts on the googling. First no one is going to have trouble finding this website, especially a developer. I think we all agree on that. In fact, there is no reason to think this site couldn't become the top hit for simply "Fan".

What you mentioned Stephen is what I'd call kind of the "gossip search" just trying to find out who is talking about Fan - I'd like to do that myself just to get plugged into conversations. We all agreed that the name sucks for that.

But that isn't actually the same thing as someone trying to find the solution to their problem. Finding solution to problems tends to include search terms relevant to their problem like:

In all of these random searches we get first hit (at least here in the states). So in general, Google does indeed work - that is why it is so popular. I'm sure there are lots of searches that don't work well, but the 4 that popped into my mind all had relevant top hits. And with continued link love, the situation only improves.

So I don't want to discount the google problem - I wholly agree there is a problem. But at the same time, I believe the problem is more around gossip searches then actually trying to find information.

Personally I am still a bit on the fence. I don't mind "friva" or I actually still like "fantom". But I don't like them as much as "fan".

jfheon Thu 19 Feb 2009

When I google Fan, fandev.org actually crops up between position 3 and 6.

It seems to vary from one browser to another and whether I am logged in iGoogle or not, or whether I am actually googling with google.com or google.ca. Perhaps browsing history and regional settings and whatnot are influencing, but they're always pretty good results in my case.

I think Fan is an excellent concise name, and I don't think Google ratings should be taken into account for changing it.

My two cents 8)

alexlamsl Thu 19 Feb 2009

I can locate this site by "fan" on http://www.google.co.uk/, page 3 :-)

cheeser Thu 19 Feb 2009

It was on page 2 for me this morning at google.com. not too shabby.

brian Fri 20 Feb 2009

I would say a name change is looking unlikely, although I'd like Andy to post his thoughts. But we have registered the domain name "friva.org" just in case.

jodastephen Fri 20 Feb 2009

What you mentioned Stephen is what I'd call kind of the "gossip search" just trying to find out who is talking about Fan - I'd like to do that myself just to get plugged into conversations. We all agreed that the name sucks for that.

Yep. Its almost impossible to write a decent Google alert for Fan that only catches the right stuff. I disagree that its just gossip though (although given the growth in social networking, gossip is vital too).

In all of these random searches we get first hit (at least here in the states). So in general, Google does indeed work - that is why it is so popular. I'm sure there are lots of searches that don't work well, but the 4 that popped into my mind all had relevant top hits. And with continued link love, the situation only improves.

But look a little deeper.

"Fan concurrency" gets the top three hits on my Google search. But there are 75,000 results in total. The top 10 pages have a total of 8 links which are actually relevent. But also in there are:

  • "I have been a fan of C++. Because of the flexibility of the language, ... That said, currently by far the most popular approach to concurrency is Scala's"
  • "MenTaLguY has spent a lot of time working with Ruby concurrency. ... several STM implementations I am not the fan of it that I used to be"
  • "Move concurrent-programming? .... difficulties of Monads have made this guy an Erlang fan for the moment"
  • "For example, the email conversation containing this message started when Michael Sperber, a Concurrent-ML fan, asked what we thought the"
  • "Joe Duffy spends a lot of time thinking about the future of concurrent ... I'm a big fan of F# and it's great to see that a product team is being formed to ..."
  • "I have never been a fan of Java, and I don’t want to be stuck using the moral equivalent of Java when the multicore/concurrency thing shakes out. ..."
  • "I am talking about the book JAVA Concurrency in Practice by Brian Goetz and others. .... Apparently you are not the only fan of this book, ..."
  • "Searching for Microsoft Concurrency Runtime. ... Longtime fan favorite comic Gilbert Gottfried, of the squinty eyes and raspy voice. "
  • "I'm a huge fan of eliminating redundancy, because keeping two things .... you mention (in the java.util.concurrent.locks package, btw)"
  • "Intel has just released a free Application Concurrency Audit Tool called CFinder ... I'm not a big fan of posting my work email on forums,"
  • "Functional Java 2.8 contains a concurrency API that implements Actors as seen in ..... I’m a big fan of unobtrusive drop-in-libraries and ."
  • "More exciting news for functional programming fans with an interest in concurrency: the JoCaml project has been revived "
  • "Of course, this should not be the default concurrency model - as much as ... I'm actually a great fan of the timer service, though I'm not a fan of the ...."
  • "Not an Erlang fan ... introducing better concurrency to another language.

(all from the first 10 pages, where there were 8 genuine Fan hits)

The problem is the phrase "I'm a fan of XXX" where XXX could be any other programming language. Its that simple fact that will always make Fan and Google incompatible, because you can't separate Fan from noise based on any normal programming language terms.

(and for extra amusement "fan scala" doesn't return language comparisions, but references to the Opera "Cosi Fan Tute")

I wish it wasn't true, but Google holds a monopoly on the internet and access to data now. Any business/service dismisses that at its peril.

brian Fri 20 Feb 2009

"Fan concurrency" gets the top three hits on my Google search.

I think that is pretty significant because they are pretty much the only pages on Fan concurrency that exist.

and for extra amusement "fan scala" doesn't return language comparisions

Fan versus Scala - top two hits for me are right on the mark

Any business/service dismisses that at its peril.

I don't want to dismiss the Google issue, I agree it is a big issue. I just wanted to balance the discussion because I don't think it is all completely doom and gloom. Google does actually work pretty well. In only three days the top four google hits for me on "fan intellij" are all on the mark for the new plugin (versus fans of IntelliJ).

JohnDG Fri 20 Feb 2009

Again, I think Fan is an OK name. It would be a lot of work changing things. In retrospect, a better name could have been chosen, one that is meaningless.

In any case, it's not too late to find a better domain name, like "fanprogramming", "fanprogramminglanguage", "fanlanguage", etc. fandev.com links to some unrelated site, and many a time I've gone there. Google also gives higher weight to words in the domain name, which is another reason to choose a better domain name. Finally, fandev suggests the language is still in development, and while that's true, it's not exactly good for PR.

JohnDG Fri 20 Feb 2009

I'm not a big "fan" of changing names, but keep in mind that what you're seeing here is selection bias: you only see the people who find your website through their search query. You never see the other search terms that don't lead to your website.

We have this problem as well: una is an extremely common word and there's no way anyone is going to find our website with that word alone. It was a poor choice, but we've made the decision to stick with it anyway. We'll never see una as a search term lead to our website, because anyone who types that in will never find our website (that said, the target audience of developers is probably smart enough to append additional terms if they don't pull up what they want).

brian Fri 20 Feb 2009

In any case, it's not too late to find a better domain name,

I am open to that because we can transition by having both domains point to the site, while we get the new one going. Although shorter is better for DNS too. It would sweet to get "fan.org" - it is just a squatter (although they probably think they could get a high price for it). Otherwise I wouldn't mind "fan-lang.org".

andy Fri 20 Feb 2009

I appreciate the issues Stephen has noted, and they are real issues. And I'm not 100% against a name change - however no one has suggested a name I would consider.

I seem to have a bit more faith in Google than others here, so while Fan wasn't the best name in hindsight, I think it will work out just fine. You really can't judge how well it works right now, since Fan is still relatively unknown. Besides this site, and a handful of blog posts, there is no other competent information on Fan yet. It will take time to amass that information which is what will make "googling" work better.

So my vote is to keep the name Fan.

brian Sat 21 Feb 2009

I don't think this issue is necessarily decided yet. The key problem is that we haven't come up with a great name that everyone loves. Andy really dislikes Friva, so that seems to be a show stopper for that particular name.

I still really like Fantom, but it hasn't seemed to gather much interest.

So my preference is still to try and rename the language, if we can come up with that elusive name.

jodastephen Sat 21 Feb 2009

Andy, can you comment on why not Friva, and what makes a good name in your view (I know - its probably just a gut feel, but it might help us choose).

Fantom has grown on me quite a bit over the past couple of days. My "phantom" being negative initial feeling seems to be moving towards "phantom" being rather cool. There are some IT hits when you search for "fantom" though.

jbwiv Sun 22 Feb 2009

Hey, if it's between friva and fantom, my vote is for fantom...much better!

andy Mon 23 Feb 2009

Just don't like it. The name for me just has to be short, easy to say/pronounce, and just sound cool. Fantom is about the only name on this list I would have considered.

jodastephen Mon 23 Feb 2009

Thanks Andy. Its always difficult to express what makes a name work for you and Fan is obviously close to your heart now.

I think a number of people like Fantom BTW. The question is over whether the legalities are OK as the name is used by others.

brian Tue 24 Feb 2009

The question is over whether the legalities are OK as the name is used by others.

The only thing I really saw was the Fantom Drives (top hit here in US). If we do decide to switch names, I will have my IP attorney run a trademark search. Trademark tends to pretty restrictive, someone would have to have the TM registered explicitly for software.

So let's not worry about that, rather let's focus this discussion on:

  1. do you love the name?
  2. does it google well?

freddy33 Tue 24 Feb 2009

Personally, I start to enjoy the sound of it: "Did not find my fantom PODs?" "fantom compilation succeeded!" "New fantom API for IO!" :)

jodastephen Tue 24 Feb 2009

I'm very comfortable with Fantom.

Top hits I see are

  • radio controlled cars
  • desktop wallpapers
  • HD drives
  • type of keyboard
  • comic company
  • old car
  • vacuum cleaner

There is also a CMS named Fantom at google code.

I'd judge it as an OK google name for searching (not great, but much better than Fan).

geme_hendrix Wed 4 Mar 2009

Just because I just can't resist a joke, how about calling it C+++? Doesn't it just roll off the tongue?

clay Mon 6 Apr 2009

I just wanted to highlight the importance of a name change. It really not about finding the fandev site in Google. It is about finding the tools for Fan. I tried searching for an Eclipse plugin for Fan, and there is no good search that will return helpful results. "eclipse plugin fan" returns comments about how much they like plugins in Eclipse.

brian Mon 6 Apr 2009

@clay - there isn't an eclipse plugin for Fan that I know of yet (which would explain why you didn't find anything :-) There is one for IntelliJ, Una supports Fan, simple editor Flux bundled with Fan, plus some syntax config files for various editors you will find under adm/tools in the distro.

PhiLho Tue 7 Apr 2009

Funny, I came here because I was wondering if an applet written in Fan would be of reasonable size (I estimate a Groovy applet would be quite large!).

I first typed in Google fan language applet — Indeed, I got mostly air movers and fanatics...

Typing "fan programming language" applet (with the double quotes) provided much better results, but not everybody knows the " trick...

This reminds me of Processing, a "dialect" (rather simplification) of Java with a minimalistic but handy IDE. The name is nice, and meaningful (it is used a lot for processing and visualizing data), but in the IT field, the choice is poor with regard to search engines (yes, that's mostly Google, I fear) usage. That why sometime (although practice seems to decrease) we see written Proce55ing (yes, that's ugly) or just P5.

For what it is worth (I haven't started to study, less to use Fan, but I find its concepts nice and I come back from time to time, and now I just downloaded it), I like the name. But to be honest, it might get in the way. Perhaps it is a good time to think about this, Fan starts to be known, but not enough to impede a name change.

Choosing a similar sounding name looks like a good option. Phan, Fann (Faan seems to be ruled out by Norwegians...), Fran (-tic?) or some other variation would be nice.

I hope we won't see F4N... :-)

jodastephen Wed 8 Apr 2009

I recently had trouble trying to find any information about my London Fan talk on twitter - fan was hopeless as a search term there.

brian Wed 8 Apr 2009

As I said before - I don't consider the issue decided yet. I'll give it another month or two. But someone has to propose a name which both Andy and I really love.

brian Wed 8 Apr 2009

How about "falanx" as play on "phalanx"

qualidafial Wed 8 Apr 2009

Does it have to be a derivative of "fan" or are all names on the table?

brian Wed 8 Apr 2009

Does it have to be a derivative of "fan" or are all names on the table?

It does not have to be a derivative of "fan", although there is immense practical value in being able to reuse the zillion of places where "fan" and "f" is used in the tools, fwt, etc. So a name not derived from "fan" has be really rocking if take a plunge like that.

tactics Wed 8 Apr 2009

What kind of feel do you want to give to the language? I think the name should reflect that.

Even though it sucks for search, I really like Fan. It's short and simple. And, seeing as those are two of your design goals, it's very appropriate.

Falanx sounds more powerful. It seems like it's a language for an aggressive, let's-take-over-the-world approach. I think this name might better be reserved for some killer app or library.

Fantom sounds a bit mysterious, but bold. Knowing there's a better solution to their platform dilemma will haunt Java developers at night!

I think Fantom would be really great for marketing purposes. As a mascot, we could have a little pac-man looking ghost. We could play off the ghost themes a lot in slogans and advertisement, like the "haunting Java developers" bit I came up with above. And maybe "it's scary how easy web development is in Fantom". It wouldn't lend itself to words, but for a Flash-style ad, we could have a picture with the JVM and .NET on two sides of a brick wall, where our ghostly mascot could pass through, unimpeded. We might have to check with O'reilly about whether we can use a phantom as a book cover though ;-)

cheeser Wed 8 Apr 2009

There is always, of course, fava. Comes in pods even. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_bean :)

brian Wed 8 Apr 2009

I really like the name "Fantom" and that is the one name I am willing to over switch to. But you gotta convince Andy - he doesn't like it much.

andy Wed 8 Apr 2009

I actually sort of like Fantom. I'd have to sleep on it though.

qualidafial Wed 8 Apr 2009

Fantom is my favorite so far but it might be overloaded already: http://www.google.com/search?q=fantom.

tactics Wed 8 Apr 2009

Yeah. I noticed that earlier today. All of fantom.org, .com, and .net are taken Although, fantom.org seems to be squatted on by Go Daddy, so it might be available for purchase?

tompalmer Wed 8 Apr 2009

No go on Fanzi, eh? My concern on Fantom is that might sound too script kiddie for some folks (or businesses, more likely).

JohnDG Wed 8 Apr 2009

If Fantom is too popular (and/or trademarked), you could always do a misspelling; e.g.: Fantum.

qualidafial Thu 9 Apr 2009

Given that there are at least four or five products with the name Fantom I don't think we should be concerned about trademark issues. It's just a question of whether the term is too overloaded--which I don't think it is.

freddy33 Thu 9 Apr 2009

I'm confident Fantom will help a lot finding Fantom resources on the net. Searching for "fantom applet" gives only 6,000 results, compare to 400,000 with Fan. Thinking about a mascot, a Fan mascot will be very hard to find :)

clay Thu 9 Apr 2009

Agreed, "actor fantom", "closure fantom" and "eclipse plugin fantom" all return pretty low ranking sites.

geo Thu 9 Apr 2009

I am coming around to the idea of a name change for Fan, just try searching for “Fan IDE” and you get thousands of results for cooling fans.

Personally I like the name Fantom, it keeps the Fan prefix, but has a more evocative image. Think about the definition of phantom; “an appearance or illusion without material substance” – software and Fan code can been seen, but cant really be touched so could say it is without substance. I think it has a nice fit for a programming language.

The Fantom name is overloaded with a few other products, but none that seem to be related to software development, so I don’t think that is of great concern.

Overall I’d say a name change is a good idea, and Fantom is the best suggestion so far.

alexlamsl Thu 9 Apr 2009

Looks like fan.tm is available :-)

joe Thu 9 Apr 2009

I don't much like Fantom myself - sounds a bit (and I mean this in the nicest way :) immature.

I much prefer Fan, although I understand the Google issue. However, don't forget that Google is greatly influenced by people following links; in otherwords the more blog posts about Fan and associated topics, the higher things will rise in the ranks.

After all, people are unlikely to search for Eclipse Fan plug-in actually intending to find info about people who are fans of plug-ins - so when there is a plug-in for Eclipse everyone searching for the above will end up going to the correct page thus propagating correct results further up the rankings.

Sure it won't happen overnight, but to be fair this is because there isn't much being written about Fan anywhere except this site, so there's not much for search engines to work off.

So if I had a vote (which I don't deserve), it'd be to stick with Fan. Regardless, it's shaping up to be a great language - so congratulations Brian and Andy.

KevinKelley Thu 9 Apr 2009

I agree with what that guy said. I think the name Fan is fine, and I doubt that we're really going to be drowned out by people who think it's too hot in the summer.

I don't really know exactly how Google does its thing, but they seem to do it well, and I'm sure they've got a crew of engineers doing all kinds of neat stuff to solve problems like this. If it is even a problem. Anyone looking for Fan info is probably going to follow a link, or if not they're likely to want it for some particular reason and therefore will be able to supply some more helpful keywords to disambiguate the search.

Trying to position ourselves for google seems like the cart trying to get into just the right spot where the horse could pick it up. I think instead we should focus on what we (by which I mean you) do well: building a pretty impressive language. And let the world find us.

tactics Thu 9 Apr 2009

Here is a grep for /^fan/ in some dictionary.txt I pulled off Google, trimmed of plurals and some other derivatives.

  • fan
  • fanatic
  • fancier
  • fanciest
  • fanciful
  • fancy
  • fandango
  • fandom
  • fane
  • fanega
  • fanegada
  • fanfare
  • fanfaron
  • fanfold
  • fang
  • fanga
  • fangas
  • fanion
  • fanjet
  • fanlight
  • fanner
  • fannies
  • fanning
  • fanny
  • fano
  • fanon
  • fanos
  • fantail
  • fantasia
  • fantasie
  • fantasm
  • fantast
  • fantasy
  • fantod
  • fantom
  • fanum
  • fanwise
  • fanwort
  • fanzine

We might want to keep this list handy. Some of these would make great API/library names. There's some really good /^fan/ names! My favorites from this list are fantasm, fantasy, fang, fancy, fanatic, and fanfare.

suresh_k Thu 9 Apr 2009

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet - Shakespear

Sorry Shakespear. Fan community differs in this view. Fan is a nice name. If it is to be changed, please try for a name with positive meaning like Fanpro - Fan a Prominent Lanaguage or Programmers Language. Fanjoy - Programming with Fan is joyful.

How about the following Language names: Scala (scalable) got a nice name, meaning escalator. C++ also very good name: double positive


jodastephen Thu 9 Apr 2009

Joe, Kevin, I've argued here before that the problem isn't that Google will improve over time (it will), but that it is fundamentally impossible for Google to ever provide really good results (and this affects Twitter and any other tag based system).

As well as being an object (Japanese style or air conditioning), fan is also a fan of. Since lots of developers will write the phrase "I'm a fan of xxx" its pathologically impossible for any search engine to determine Fan from fan. And bear in mind that other search engines do exist, and they won't be as sophisticated as Googles algorithms.

Here is a twitter search for fan. Here is the same for Scala. This isn't just maturity, its a key feature of the word.

Don't get me wrong. Fan is a nice enough name. But it can never, ever be a serious search term. And that matters as people search for info like IDEs or hints and tips - as is now happening.

joe Thu 9 Apr 2009

I agree that a straight search for Fan is unlikely to return a Fan language page at the top spot, however a search for Fan + some context has a much better shot when pages actually exist.

For example, a search for "Eclipe plugin fan" obviously returns nothing relevant; there is no Eclipse plugin for fan (although ironically, the post on this site announcing the Intellij plugin is now turning up fourth :).

However a search for Intellij plugin fan returns a page of relevant matches:


But like you say, not all search engines are Google, and if the aim is to get a straight search for the language name on it's own at the top, it'll be a long time coming.

tcolar Mon 4 May 2009

Agree too on the new name. I really really like what the devs are doing with this language, but "Fan" is just not a good name for SEO etc....

tcolar Mon 4 May 2009

Some French words that start by Fan: (just because) Fantasme - (something you dream of - fantasy - potentially sexual :) ) The programming language of your dreams ! i like that one :)

Fantome - same as Fantom but maybe available domain. Good name too i think.

Fanfare - marching band, but also means "very succesful / hyped)" - "en grande fanfare."

DanielFath Sun 26 Jul 2009

I'm gonna rez this topic instead of posting in the one that links to this.

Why not Fand?

Fand is an early Irish sea goddess, later described as a "Queen of the Fairies". Her > name is variously translated as "Pearl of Beauty" or "A Tear".

Fand.org is currently available while fand.com sadly ain't

jtobler Thu 30 Jul 2009

Sorry to pipe in so late, but I just started fanning recently. Bottom line to me:

Fan is cool!

Keep the name. Google will learn to deal with it.

I remember when Java seemed extremely silly. Also Python - most devs don't even know that it was named for "Monty Python," not the damnable snake. And Ruby? Doh! A real naming gem, that one!

But, most of all, don't forget "C"! If you can google C, you will be able to Google Fan. The most important thing is for all of us to get behind the language and make it more popular than C.

Fan should just blow all those obstacles right out of the way!

jodastephen Fri 31 Jul 2009

I should point out that Python, Ruby, Scala, Java et al are all nouns. Fan is a verb, Big difference (it greatly increase the competition space for the word).

By the way, if you were twittering about Fan what # value would you use? Using #Fan seems pointless:

Search for #fan Search for #scala

These are just simple text searches, not something supposedly more advanced like Google.

The point is that people are "fans of" many, many things, including scala, groovy, java, and even "fans of how scala does typing". All these things make true searching very hard, if not impossible.

(Yes, things will improve over time, if Fan becomes more successful, but basic analysis shows that searches will never be great. Simply taking ownership of the issue and making a change would have a huge difference to the ability to sell "Fan" on the web.)

Finally, I think Brian/Andy need to make a final decision this August. If its not changing then lets know and move on.

liamstask Fri 31 Jul 2009

I know it's not too helpful since it's already taken, but I think tompalmer found a great name for his language - June. http://code.google.com/p/june-language

Maybe that will at least stir the idea pot again...

tompalmer Fri 31 Jul 2009

As a heads up on June, though, realize that while there's some code there, it's mostly vapor. I can't code as fast (or I don't dedicate myself) as much as Brian and Andy.

I should put that disclaimer (the "mostly vaporware" disclaimer) on the project page, too.

I did think a LOT about the name, though. Too bad names by themselves don't get the project done ...

Oh, and I still think Fan should at least remain starting with the letters "fan", and I'm currently inclined to agree with jtobler.

mzgubin Wed 5 Aug 2009

How about just Fahn ? Same pronunciation, more distinct.

eee Fri 7 Aug 2009

someone just told me about fan 8 seconds ago, and I'm already here and finding it quite interesting.

I really don't think you should change the name. I immediately appreciated how the extension was ".fan" . . . . and it didn't have to be abbreviated. That is fricken genius.

plus, imagine having a programming language that is so cool and so good that you find it even though it has a common word for a name.

Now, it's not that common. If it were "the", well, the extension trick would still be slick, "foo.the", but other than that, I mean, now that would be silly already. Hmmmmmmmm tempting, actually, now. "The The Programming Language"

helium Fri 7 Aug 2009

and it didn't have to be abbreviated.

Why would any other name have to be abbreviated? Are you still using an operating system with 8.3 filenames like CP/M or DOS?

eee Fri 7 Aug 2009

ok ok. i suppose you're right. How about this:

"and it didn't require more than the typical 3 characters that, for whatever arbitrary reason probably due to legacy OS's as you suggest or maybe also assumptions people make in hacky code, ... <taking a breath> ... most people strive for in their extensions ... without having to be abbreviated"

turns out, i guess I'm a FAN of three characters (I note looking at my login ... which was probably driven by a minimum character length ... but is an interesting coincidence, nonetheless.

excellent point about rethinking about things, though.

katox Sat 3 Oct 2009

I missed this thread back then ;). I tried some googling while going through the posts... a few notes:

  • fandev went up in google results significantly - for precise queries 2-10. position, which is great
  • I found only one Fan related link (Fan for Intellij) not being hosted on fandev - no blogs, no wiki, no twitter, ...
  • I had better luck when searching for a code snippet or fan vs. a competing language/technology
  • Quite a few seemingly good queries resulted in fan of or fan as a device.

None of the proposed names stuck in my head but fantom. I somehow like that one. The plus is that nothing would have to be changed (like namespaces, filename extensions etc.) but the website docs (and maybe a site domain). fan would become just a nice abbreviation of fantom which is a lot nicer than py or rb. It is an international word (minus spelling differences) and easy to pronounce for almost anybody.

Maybe I'm writing to a long closed dead thread but I haven't seen a clear no anywhere... ;)

alexey Sat 3 Oct 2009

There is a Phantom OS project:


And since topic are quite close (OO Language and OO Operating System) there might be source of confusion.

jodastephen Sun 4 Oct 2009

I've been thinking "xefan" (pronounce zee-fan) would work well - free domain names, instant domination of a Google slot and sounds/looks cool.

filgood Sun 4 Oct 2009

+1 for fantom

brian Sun 4 Oct 2009

xefan isn't too bad, but not sure I love it

current contender is fantom, although we have been unable to acquire the domain

side note: for me "Fan" is now #2 hit on Google

katox Sun 4 Oct 2009

fantom-lang.{org,net,com} seems to be free.

Side note:

  • ruby-lang.org - ruby programming language
  • ruby.org - OpenSRS Personal Names Service
  • ruby.net - gemstones
  • ruby.com - kay.com
  • scala-lang.org - scala programming language
  • scala.org - OpenSRS Personal Names Service
  • scala.net - ERP company www.epicor.com
  • scala.com - scala inc, a company not associated with scala pl
  • python-lang.org - not registered
  • python.org - python programming language
  • python.net - weird site, provides a link for misguided people to python.org
  • python.com - a porn site
  • groovy-lang.org - linux pl
  • groovy.org - The Groovy Organization - unrelated to groovy pl
  • groovy.net - Idiosyntactix Media Archives
  • groovy.com - unusure, a directory listing with empty files
  • groovy.codehaus.org - groovy programming language
  • perl-lang.org - not registered
  • perl.org - perl programming language
  • perl.net -> perl.org
  • perl.com - O'reilly source about perl programming language
  • smalltalk-lang.org - not registered
  • smalltalk.org - smalltalk language (academic)
  • squeak.org - smalltalk implementation
  • smalltalk.org - domain parking
  • smalltalk.net - domain parking
  • erlang-lang - not registered
  • erlang.org - erlang programming language
  • erlang.net - Traffic and Queuing Software
  • erlang.com - telecomunication company (probably leveraing erlang)
  • php-lang.org - not registered
  • php.org - domain parking
  • php.net - php programming language
  • php.com - parents helping parents site

some others

  • caml.inria.fr
  • mlton.org
  • javascript.com
  • ecmascript.org
  • research.sun.com/self
  • gnu.org/software/m4
  • rubyonrails.org (rails.org taken)

Notes to phantom os project:

  • seems to be immature, investor huting, one-man-show project
  • always reffered to as phantom os - different spelling + OS present

dcaoyuan Wed 18 Nov 2009

Fantom is unacceptable in Chinese, it sounds like "饭桶", which means "rice bucket" with negative impression, i.e. "little worth or usefulness except eating".

DanielFath Wed 18 Nov 2009

dcaoyuan, does the word Phantom carry bad connotation in Chinese? You could simply translate it like that. However I would recommend that brian and andy make an alternative Chinese website or a reroute if you are Chinese (and acquire tradmarks for Specter/Phantom in Chinese) so people from China would wouldn't have to program in a rice bucket.

brian Wed 18 Nov 2009

Fantom is unacceptable in Chinese, it sounds like "饭桶", which means "rice bucket" with negative impression

That is unfortunate, but at the same time it is close to impossible to pick a name with an available domain name which does not have some conflict in some language on the planet. Given that a programming language is targeted towards programmers who speak English (if they want to understand the docs and APIs), hopefully this won't be a big issue. But we can always revisit later.

helium Wed 18 Nov 2009

According to an online dictionary "饭桶" is pronounced [fàn tǒnɡ], see http://de.bab.la/woerterbuch/chinesisch-englisch/饭桶.html. But I don't think you should change the name of Fantom because it sounds similar to a word in another language.

tactics Wed 18 Nov 2009

Indeed. Even in English, you have lots of words which minimize the lexical distance to losing your job: funk, shot, crepe, as, can't. I think given all the language differences, the Chinese would forgive us.

dcaoyuan Wed 18 Nov 2009

Phantom is rarely mentioned in China, but Fantom is even similar in Chinese phoneticize (FanTong) of “饭桶”, which may directly suggest to “饭桶”。

If so, it will be the most terrible name of all languages I ever heard :-)

CNKevin Thu 19 Nov 2009

Some lightheartedness and humor in the translation of Fantom to 饭桶 (FanTong),I like it.

There are some humorous names in China's IT, for example, a popular site taisha.org (太傻 TaiSha, meaning too dumb/too stupid), or the very good web browser Maxthon (now is 遨游 AoYou, but used to be called by many users as 马桶 (MaTong, meaning toilet!! :-))

wangzaixiang Thu 19 Nov 2009

I dont think fantom is not acceptable in chinese, no matter for the pronunce.

example, the facebook is more worse because it means 非死不可, that means “Must Died", and the "www.bing.com",bing is 病 that means a fault, a defect.

for me, fantom is acceptable. anyway, in chinese, 饭桶 is not a very bad word.

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