Bird names

R Kent James kent at
Wed Mar 11 15:54:39 UTC 2015

On 3/11/2015 1:35 AM, Jörg Knobloch wrote:
> As English is my second language - despite living in Australia for 16 
> years - I've never heard of these birds. 
Actually the biggest problem we face is not that these names are too 
unknown but that they are too known. If you decide to name your releases 
after birds, and start with A, then Avocet is the obvious choice. We are 
not the first software project to come to this conclusion. "Albatross" 
and "Auklet" are also available, but much worse IMO. I have a bug filed 
with Mozilla legal to see if they have any trademark objections to us 
using these names.

Choosing birdnames is a classic bikeshedding issue, and please forgive 
me but I refuse to participate in a big bikeshedding event over this. 
I've been trying to take some responsibility for Thunderbird marketing, 
and I've found very few other people interested in this issue. I think 
that Thunderbird marketing is going rather well at the moment, with 
Dave's recent Twitter posts at @mozthunderbird and my mozilla blog posts 
doing a good job of communicating that we are not, in fact, dead. With 
effort comes so degree of autonomy. Release naming is part of this 
larger effort.

To me, I would like names that are unique, melodious, and free of 
negative connotations. Distinctive coloration that could be used in 
generating associated graphics is also important. The Pied Avocet has a 
distinctive black and white pattern that will be very effective 
graphically. I also like that this bird is primarily a Euroasian bird, 
as that also reflects the current geography of Thunderbird.

For Bunting, the Painted Bunting has some of the most amazing coloration 
of any bird, and will also be a great target for graphics designers. I 
don't particularly like its limited North American geography, but its 
spectacular coloration overcomes this weakness. There are other Bunting 
varieties as well, but graphics potential leans me toward the Painted 

If you want a back story (though this was not important in choosing the 
name), try this from WIkipedia: "The avocet became extinct 
<> in Great Britain 
<> in 1840.^[6] 
<> Its successful 
recolonisation at Minsmere 
<>, Suffolk 
<>, in 1947^[4] 
<> led to its 
adoption as the logo of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds 

I think that a bird that went extinct and was re-introduced is a pretty 
good symbol for a first release of a community-led Thunderbird.


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