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You may have already heard (and here, here, here, and the announcement here) that KDE just changed their name to KDE. That’s right. What’s that? You don’t see the difference between KDE and KDE? Isn’t it obvious? Now it’s not an acronym. No, I know what you’re thinking, when you have something in all caps, by convention that means it’s an acronym- it stands for something. But KDE no longer stands for something- it’s just… KDE. My favorite part:

The expanded term “K Desktop Environment” has become ambiguous and obsolete, probably even misleading. Settling on “KDE” as a self-contained term makes it clear that we have made the shift from a limited set of software components to a community providing an ecosystem of free software applications and platforms for the end user on the desktop, mobile devices, and more.

Definitely clearer. I know I’ll be able to explain it to my mom now.

What’s really wrong with this? I mean beside naming yourself in a way that suggests your brand is an acronym even though it’s not.

Rebranding is a hard decision and I respect anyone that makes a change intended to make their product more obvious to the casual observer. I think there are a lot of open source projects that would do well to rename their project. To me, though the KDE community doesn’t deserve any notice, let alone applause, for this… decision.

If the community surrounding the GNOME desktop renamed themselves GNOME (no longer an acronym) I would be equally disdainful. But at least their acronym is also a word. Whether an acronym or not, you always have to spell out K-D-E to say KDE.


Want to make it clear what you are or what you provide? Pick a catchy name that says something -anything- about what you’re providing so your explanation just clarifies your focus. I am not saying there’s not some good decisions and points in the repositioning document- a good read for anyone mulling a rebranding of their project. Just don’t do what they did.

At least they’re just ruining it for themselves and no one else, like app developers that develop using the KDE platform.

Oh, wait…

Software created by the KDE community is branded on its own under the umbrella brand of KDE. Use of “KDE” in the product name is optional and depending on the context. Especially for applications that are not well known as KDE applications and are not easily identified as such by a “K” prefix in their name, it is recommended to use “KDE” in the product name.

Well, at least it’s optional. One example on the announcement page mentions KDE Dolphin. Now, Dolphin as the name of a file manager (does the default file manager need a name?) is pretty questionable. I don’t see it. But KDE Dolphin? Seriously?