Marketing 101 – Brands are King! Change them at your peril

May 9, 2007

Inspired by an attack of active laziness*, I’ve been building slack configurations to automatically and silently build new windows and linux boxes … yes, I’m just weird like that.

I’ve pretty much finished with linux world (the joys of apt-get, yum, etc) and am working on the windows side of things. Way down on my list of 50-odd things to install is my trusty old packet capture and analysis tool, ethereal. Or at least, that’s what it used to be called!. While trawling through the vagaries of the lack of silent installer for the packet capture library (winpcap), imagine my surprise when I discover that ethereal has recently changed its name to wireshark. Wireshark! I shit you not … I bet McKinsey graduates are crying into their Bollinger at the missed opportunity to charge $50,000 for that little gem!

It all came about when the original author went to work for commercial outfit with a small (though presumably innocent) conflict of interest, and all involved decided to “retire” the name ethereal. Kinda noble, I suppose, but nearly a decade of brand recognition and loyalty has come close to dying with the change. No doubt it’s been suggested before, but a small bit of legal gymnastics could have been performed to gift the name to the ethereal project and protect it from future misuse, I’m sure.

(* active laziness: The calculated act of doing something to avoid having to do ten times as much in the near future).

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