Mapserver. What's in a name?

In an otherwise unrelated conversation, Howard Butler produced this short quote on effective software project names:

A name need not describe what something does (MapServer, I stare in your general direction :), but it needs to be distinctive enough to discriminate …

This reminded me of the ArcGIS Server demo at Where 2.0, the Jack-and-Jeremy show (by the way, IRC consensus was that Jeremy Rocks, too bad he was off-line (and on-stage) and couldn’t bask in the love) where a number of examples of searching for services were started from Google queries of the form: “mapserver something”.

So, a search for “mapserver idaho” picks up this ArcGIS service pretty high up, a search for “mapserver floods” turns up this ArcGIS flood service, and so on.

This seems like bad news for the Google Karma of Mapserver Classic, and also bad news from a customer conversation point-of-view. “We’re standing up [a] Mapserver” now has a couple of pretty distinct meanings.