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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Perlbal name change imminent [Aug. 23rd, 2005|09:02 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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A lot of people have been telling me lately what I've long suspected: The name "perlbal" is fucking terrible. I suppose this is good, though... it means people are using it, even if they hate the name.

But I think I should rename it sooner than later. People hate the name because:

-- it has Perl in it, so people think it only works with Perl. (docs.php.net is behind Perlbal, incidentally)
-- it has Perl in it, so people think it's ugly/slow/____ (insert Perl predisposition)
-- the "bal" part is kinda useless

And I hate it because it was a working name that never changed.

After lots of thinking, I'm leaning towards the new name splice, but I'd like your thoughts.

Rationale on splice:

-- would get good Google loving. hell, the simple word "pound" is google #1 hit.
-- technically the correct word: we're splicing together connections
-- nice ring for non-tech people
-- one day we might use TCPSP for TCP splicing, which advertises it'd be good for "layer-7 switching, web proxy and application firewall running in the user space".... which is us.
-- one day we might use Larry McVoy's long-proposed splice() system call, now being worked on again after many years by Linus Torvals.

Pros, cons?

[User Picture]From: jaybonci
2005-08-24 04:31 am (UTC)

Splice is a little tough

I'd be wary of splice, since it is a perl built-in function. Perlbal isn't a great name, but anything that can come up with enough user recognition, and google love would be worth while. Ideally, in a name, you'd want:

  • Nothing even vaguely used in a technical namespace.
  • A name that is easy to pronounce phonetically
  • Unique enough to define itself in the google search space (Apache vs. "web server")

I'd argue that a name that describes it's function (memcached) isn't as important as a name that people identify with it longer term (mysql, python, etc). Marketing in the Open Source space is wierd and largely about mindshare.

Either way, I'm still not sure how to pronounce perlbal. Purl-ball? Purl-bayl? Purble?
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[User Picture]From: scsi
2005-08-24 04:35 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: decklin
2005-08-24 04:38 am (UTC)
I like "splice". A lot.
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[User Picture]From: octal
2005-08-24 04:41 am (UTC)
Do this change thing. It is excellent.
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[User Picture]From: eqe
2005-08-24 05:11 am (UTC)
Linus' splice(2) isn't much like lm's splice.

I don't like things that live in section 1 taking names from things that live in section 2. Except for stat(1), that's different.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-08-24 06:28 am (UTC)
They're similar enough in how I'd use it. IIRC, the lm splice was really generic and supported things like socket to socket transfers, but that was later scaled back when people realized that NFS/web servers just needed page cache to socket, and thus was born sendfile. But now Linus splice is back, and while different, still allows socket to socket transfers, which is all I really care about.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2005-08-24 06:46 am (UTC)

Project/product names which are just English words annoy me because it's hard to search for them. Finding the project page is okay, but when you come to search google for a specific problem you find that qualifying it with stuff like “load balancer” doesn't work because people don't tend to write out what things are when it's implied by the context. Or something.

With all that said, then, I would go for something like websplice or netsplice. “Splice” is good, but it feels like it needs to be qualified somehow. You stand more chance of getting a decent domain name that way, too. There are too many sites with domains like coolname-project.org. Of course, now I've proposed this in a public entry someone will probably go ahead and register them both just to be annoying. ;)

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[User Picture]From: jc
2005-08-24 12:47 pm (UTC)
TCP splicing was already mentioned as the core functionality, so how about tcpsplice? Instant keyword love.
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[User Picture]From: iamo
2005-08-24 03:17 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Just try and find solutions to problems with screen, for example. Websplice sounds good, and since you're not doing some kind of generic tcp-level load balancer (at least at this point) it makes more sense anyways.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-08-24 04:25 pm (UTC)
Generic TCP-level load balancing is on the immediate horizon. I already did some of it.

So I don't want anything /too/ web-specific in the name.
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[User Picture]From: erik
2005-08-24 07:34 am (UTC)
Plus there's that new documentary - Murderball - and "Perlbal" sounds too much like it. Yes, a change is in order.

Why not make it something as arbitrary as the way you named the LJ servers after SP characters, or named your company Danga? Stop trying to be so propah.
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[User Picture]From: dina
2005-08-24 04:00 pm (UTC)
I nominated "Mango"- a good as anything else...
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[User Picture]From: erik
2005-08-24 04:27 pm (UTC)
"Mango" is great for a couple of reasons - 1) it has that "vowel-n-g-vowel" thing going for it, like "Danga" does. It's cohesive. Secondly, it's a fruit, and this could kick-off a whole slew of naming opportunities for new technologies that Brad develops. Banana, Papaya, Pomegranite... the possibilities are (almost) endless.
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[User Picture]From: bsdguru
2005-08-24 08:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds like twistd's perspective broker stuff with banana, peanut butter, jelly, etc.
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2005-08-24 07:38 am (UTC)
Projects should use names that get 0 hits on Google. "Consplice"?
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2005-08-24 08:42 am (UTC)
a better switching web prox...blah blah blah...

sounds a lil too much like AFFLACK!!

NM, go with splice. :)
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-08-24 08:46 am (UTC)
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From: edge_walker
2005-08-24 12:53 pm (UTC)
I like the name. Using “splice” in this context is both descriptive and memorable; I think it’s a great choice.

The goolability complaints are valid though. Maybe “csplice” or “lsplice” (for “connection” and “load”, respectively)? Both get about 30 coincidental Google hits as of this writing. Or write it out à la “connsplice” or “loadsplice?”
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[User Picture]From: amcmillan
2005-08-24 01:04 pm (UTC)

"Linus Torvals"?

Is he related to that Linus Torvalds guy? You know... the one who created that operating system... you know... with the penguin?
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From: pos_le_terrible
2005-08-24 05:34 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: bsdguru
2005-08-24 07:46 pm (UTC)

doc.php.net <3 perlbal

Might I just add that doc.php.net runs well behind perlbal. If perlbal did stuff like say forwarding /foobar to a twistd application on port 4444 onver two boxes and /bar to three boxes, etc. and / to another webpool it would be great. It's a pity I have to use mod_proxy for a distributed site I'm setting up atm.

And I'd like to call perlbal "spatula" from now on! ;) It really beats the traffic around backend nodes, reproxies, can serve static sites up like a charm.

Kudos to Brad! ;)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-08-24 08:10 pm (UTC)

Re: doc.php.net <3 perlbal

Perlbal can do that sorta stuff, but right now you have to write a (tiny) service selector class for that. Just start from the Vhosts plugin and modify a couple lines.
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[User Picture]From: bsdguru
2005-08-24 08:47 pm (UTC)

Re: doc.php.net <3 perlbal

Actually been thinking about giving it a go once the other site has launched and I have some time to think straight and dive into perl again. In the interim it might be something like mod_proxy -> perlbal -> twistd applications. I still need to decide how to go about the bits and pieces before launch date.
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[User Picture]From: anildash
2005-08-24 07:51 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of renaming (not surprising, you know i'm into that branding shit) but WebSplice or NetSplice seem great... fewer conflicts than "splice" by itself. And waaaaaaaay easier for me to explain to people than perlbal.
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[User Picture]From: bsdguru
2005-08-24 07:55 pm (UTC)
What about webspatula? :P
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