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historical trivia

   Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1993 15:45-0400
   From: Stephen G. Rowley <sgr@zermatt.lcs.mit.edu>
       From: "William M. York" <york@parc.xerox.com>
	  From:	Scott McKay <SWM@stony-brook.scrc.symbolics.com>
	      From: s9274@srl1.LANL.GOV

	      What is the origin of the name "Genera?"

	  The first release of Genera was 7.0.

	  It is indeed the plural of "genus", but was also intended to suggest
	  the notion of "generic" as in a "generic function" (rather than the
	  connotation of "cheap non-name brand").  I don't remember who came up
	  with the name.  Some didn't like it, some did.

       Didn't we actually buy that name from the same name consultants that
       came up with "Wheels", "Semanticue", "Frame-Up", "Firewall" and the


Right.  But the difference was: for the name of the overall software
system of the Symbolics machine, Ilene and a large committee and a
very large cast of in-house volunteer survey subjects exhaustively
considered all the names; the choice was Genera.  But that was so
exhausting, distracting, and expensive, that the committees and
process for considering names for all the components (cf. above) were
scaled way back.  The result was that Genera was fairly successful for
the purpose it was designed for (good thing, too), while all the other
gimmicky names scored between C- and F.

   I recall suspecting said image consultants didn't quite have a grip on
   reality when they confused the (then-new) adaptive hash-table system
   with a spreadsheet ("They're tables, right?") and clept them
   "PlanMaster."  (I think the hashtables ended up getting called
   SmartStore.  Why does there have to be an embedded capital or
   punctuation mark?)

Yeah, but what can you expect, when we often couldn't explain features
of the system very well to potential customers who were actual
engineers.  These consultants were just refugees from advertising
agencies.  There was also the case of SCT, System Construction Tool.
They had a hard time even pretending to understand what it was about,
and came up with just a few totally wrong name ideas.  The Symbolians
on the committee couldn't think of a gimmicky name better than SCT
either, so we just left it that.

Remember also the later adventures of SmartStore.  A couple of years
ago, somebody in the vending business (I think) wanted to trademark
that name, and found that guess who owned it.  They made some paying
arrangement with Symbolics for the use of the name; I never did find
out the details.  Clearly Symbolics should have stockpiled more of
those silly names.