Dropping FluidDB as a product name, in favor of Fluidinfo

February 4th, 2011 by Terry Jones. Filed under Essence.

As of today, we’re dropping FluidDB as a product name and will just use Fluidinfo (which is of course also the name of our company). We’ve obviously put a lot of energy into the FluidDB name so it feels bad to know that some of that will be squandered, and that we might create short-term confusion with the change. But the downsides of a bad name are both real and important, and it’s time to fix the mistake. I’ve run the name change idea past dozens of people over the last two months, with almost universal approval—some of it very enthusiastic. So from now on it’s Fluidinfo, and only Fluidinfo.

Here are the main reasons for the change:

  • Having two names instead of just one was a source of confusion to many people.
  • The term “database” has too much inappropriate baggage. The mindset around databases is that they are used to carefully hoard and protect one’s own information. Fluidinfo is about combining information, about putting it in the same place, about openly writable objects with a different model of control. It’s a completely different mindset. Programmers, especially, have expectations about databases being something they download and incorporate into their application to hold just their data.
  • We were never particularly interested in the NoSQL debate (see also this O’Reilly GMT interview). Being occasionally classed as Yet Another NoSQL Database was inaccurate and led people towards apples vs oranges comparisons and confusion. For example: How does Fluidinfo compare to Hadoop? (note the two problems here – until now Fluidinfo has only been a company name, and FluidDB does not compare to Hadoop in terms of storage).

We very reluctantly began using “db” with the only purpose being to try to help VCs understand what we were building. That was before ideas of “cloud computing” and data as a service became well understood. It was helpful back then, but is not helpful now. Fittingly, after living with the baggage for a long time, the straw that broke the camel’s back was a VC who told me he almost didn’t take our meeting because he assumed from the name that we were just another of those NoSQL databases. When he said: One way or another I’m going to get you to drop that name, I knew we’d gone full circle—an inappropriate name had finally been recognized as being detrimental by the kind of person the name was supposed to be helping.

The name change can already be seen on our funky website (desperately in need of a facelift) and in the Fluidinfo documentation. We’ve also switched our Twitter account to @fluidinfo and are now using the #fluidinfo channel on IRC.

We’ll soon be moving some web pages around behind the scenes to improve their URLs, but will make sure the old links still work. If you’re interested in technical details of the API, please feel free to ask questions below, to join us in the Fluidinfo users mailing list, or to drop by the #fluidinfo channel on irc.freenode.net.

And….. stay tuned, we have some exciting Fluidinfo news right around the corner.