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The offical name is Apache Geronimo

My word is by no means official around here, but the name is and should remain Apache Geronimo. I'll tell you five good reasons why. -- n. alex rupp <n_alex at codehaus.org>

  1. It's got amazing traction in the press. Brand recognition is an IMMENSELY important advantage in this market. If you can get 100,000 people to whisper your name that's a big deal. When people remember it, that's even bigger. I spent years in the media industry and I can tell you what's happened in the first two weeks of Geronimo is very special. Throwing that traction away would be stupid.
  2. This project and this server will be a place of public accommodation used by people from all around the world. Everyone from members of powerful corporations and governments to tiny villages in Honduras will be able to use it to build web applications for FREE. Naming it in honor of Geronimo is the equivalent of naming an international airport after John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan or Cesar Vallejo. It is a mark of our highest respect.
  3. I don't associate his name with jumping out of an airplane or suicide. Anyone who does might consider spending less time in front of the television and take up gardening, yoga or base jumping.
  4. Pointy-haired bosses who don't see the business sense in Open Source are most likely not the future business leaders of the software industry, and we're not sycophantic toadies who live to serve them. If they're concerned about the name of their software because of it rings of a bad war movie or because it might impact on the appearance of their business, we probably can't help them anyway. If they're looking for the Vole, they know where to find it.
  5. The name is reported to have been democratically chosen by a majority of the initial project members after 2 weeks of discussion.

Those are all the reasons I need.

So please, take all of your names and save them. Most of them are fantastic. There will be other projects for them and if not, you can always adopt. I'm not a committing member of this project and I can't speak officially but I know a good thing when I see one, so I give Geronimo a big warm fat +1.


'Apache Geronimo' could be offensive to Native Americans

Suggest alternatives here (not that there are any plans to change the name at this time mind ya):

  • Apache Jeens
  • Apache Application Server
  • Apache Freedom
  • Apache Cheetah
  • Apache Excalibur
  • Apache Bliss
  • Apache Juice
  • Apache Eh-Capa
  • Apache Axe
  • Apache J2EE Server (can't - J2EE is a trandemark)
  • Apache FINAWJOAC (Famous Indian Name Associated With Jumping Off A Cliff)
  • Apache Rabbit
  • Apache JEE or JES or JEP (Java Enterprise Environment / Server / Platform)
  • Apache Jewel (the Jewel in the Crown)
  • Apache Cheyenne (Aren't the Cheyenne a different tribe? Seems odd, like Apache Mohican)
  • Apache Ianomami
  • Apache Xingu
  • Apache Tomahawk
  • Apache Golem
  • Apache Eureka!
  • Apache Hotshot
  • Apache Appaloosa
  • Apache Mustang
  • Apache Colibri
  • Apache Kestrel
  • Apache Whitethorn
  • Apache Wasp
  • Apache DeValera (Irish Freedom Fighter)
  • Apache Wolfe (As above)


Please DO NOT litter your comments throughout the original posting. If you have constructive comments please post them below.

Comment on point 1: -1 I don't think that the j2ee server will lose any momentum. I can't see anyone saying, I don't think I want to contribute to this project because it isn't called Geronimo anymore. Besides this is an ethical decision.

Comment on point 1: We didn't almost completely Genocide most JFK's people, and take there land though.

Comment on point 3: This is a perception some will have regardless.

Comment on point 4: I don't see this helping your argument. It could just be named Shit to deter businesses from using it.

Comment on point 5: So you like and don't want to give it up, even though it maybe unethical and offensive... hrm. The only argument here that is somewhat convincing is #1. But since the project was only announced weeks ago, I don't think it will be a big deal to change it. Siting an example the mozilla Phoenix browser change it's name to Firebird long after conception, and this did no damage to it's reputation.

  1. First of all: Even as a software developer/software engineer you are "NOT" living inside a vacuum, which means that you need to take care about your fellows, their traditions etc. etc.. But most important you need to treat your fellows with respect.
  2. Reducing the Geronimo project name issue to a marketing type of thing (point 1 and 4) is ridiculous. It shows that you did not have become sensitive about the real issue. Native American Indians "DO" care how the white man uses "their" names. To get a sensitive feeling about the issue read American Indians, People Without a Future;.
  3. Just to illustrate the previous point and to make people more sensitive about the issue: Why is there a WELRP project http://www.welrp.org/; , where American Indians are buying land from white people? It is because even in so-called "reservations" major parts of the land is "NOT" held by native people. Another Example: There was a lawsuit against a american brewery that sold a beer kind named "Crazy Horse". The use of the name of a Lakota Indian leader for a beer kind is pretty much the based on the same as those described by you in point 1 and 4. As a result because American Indians "DO" care about the (mis)use of their culture and religious symbolism, they founded the Crazy Horse Defense Project;. I did the best to give you some insights as an european "outsider" and some points to think about.

In response to the set of counterpoints above, (specifically the comment of JFK != Geonicide): I still think that using the name "Geronimo" should be viewed as a tribute and should be taken positively. This project intends to take on characteristics of the Apache warrior: a leader, strong, revered by his tribe, he stood up to his rivals, etc. Besides, I don't believe there were any complaints about the US Treasury issuing the Sacagawea dollar?

Lastly, to put this thing to rest, one of the committers contacted a Minnesota (USA) based organization for protecting Native American culture. The agreement was that Geronimo will contain an internationalization module for one or more Native American languages. In other words, "they" are OK with it - so should everyone else.

Although it is easy to say "[the name] should be viewed as a tribute and should be taken positively," you cannot ignore the fact that it may not be. Even if that is our intent, it needs to be made more clear that that is our intent. I remember reading an article years ago on Bonobo (the component technology behind GNOME). Within the resources section, there was a point about the fact that the bonobo was also a monkey, and an endangered species at that, followed by a link for more information. Now, I may have missed something, but I've seen nothing of the sort in all my readings about Apache Geronimo. If the name Geronimo is chosen, I would encourage this project to follow suit. If you want to honor Geronimo, then explicitly state that on the main project web site. Include links for the interested reader to learn more about who Geronimo was. Make an honest attempt to ensure that anyone using your software is also made more aware of Geronimo as a real person, rather than just a marketing term. If steps along these lines are taken, and there are localization modules for Native American languages, and the Native American community shows it support for the usage of Geronimo as a project name, then I would see no problem with it. I believe the Apache project using Geronimo for a name would be better likened to Soviet Russia circa 1980 to use JFK as an airport name, rather than the US deciding to name an airport after JFK. We need to respect (and asking permission is a great way to show respect) the culture from which we are pulling the name Geronimo, rather than just assuming they will feel honored. We have no inherent right to use the name, unless that right is granted to us.

What about the Washington Redskins? Or the Florida State Seminoles? I wander if people in Jakarta are offended? Let's not take ourselves too seriously with this name issue. Personally, I think Geronimo is great.

HONOR Discussion Notes

N. Alex Rupp:

Several months ago acoliver did us all the great favor of contacting an indian advocacy group called HONOR (Honor Our Neighbor's Origins and Rights), an American and Alaskan Native advocacy group based in Wisconsin with offices here in the Twin Cities. Acoliver told them about our use of the Geronimo name. Since acoliver has been so helpful to our project and was contributing his time in calling attention to this grave matter and because I'm about a tenth Ojibwe, I thought I'd help him out and lessen his burden somewhat. HONOR is based here in Minneapolis, so I made several phone calls and eventually reached a lady named Beth Brownfield, who is something of a regional coordinator for HONOR.

I told HONOR more about our international software project, its goals and its name. She didn't express any concerns at all about the name, but offered to send me a free brochure with more information about her organization. I pressed the matter a little further, discussing how local tribal schools could write Lakota language extensions for the management console or even translate documentation in Lakota, use the technology for free in their schools as a web platform or to teach high-tech programming courses to their kids. I was just brainstorming to give her an impression of the possibilities for how the technology could benefit her community and also to make the point clear that this wasn't a corporate endeavor.

After I laid out all of these suggestions about how the technology might benefit indian communities in the US she sent me a short letter explaining that she has no time to devote to this matter, because all her time is tied up representing the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as they struggle to maintain their status as a sovereign nation. In other words, they've more important things to worry about than the name of our project. I imagine this subject, like so many others, functions on metonymy. More info on this can be found here

For the record, I suggested that language packs could be written by and for different language groups to teach high tech courses in the native languages. I didn't suggest that I or any other project members would write these extensions, merely that I could make the web management console extensible in this way and possibly help them find the resource files for the translation. There was no "agreement" except to stop polluting Beth Brownfield's inbox and voicemail with the byproducts of our collective paranoia.

(Oh, by the way, I told the Pope you guys would port the docs to Latin. Yeah. In return, he's going to call off the dogs in the Spanish Inquisition for using a spanish name in our project. Chop-chop, Hannibal's at the gate.)

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