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Why the name "FogBUGZ"?

First of all let me start out by saying how much respect and admiration I have for you, Joel. You're one of the smartest people to have a homepage today, and an amazing writer too.

<question silliness="200%">

That said, what's up with the name "FogBUGZ"?

I hear you didn't plan to release it as an application, but still, while CityDesk is an amazing name for a web publishing tool, "FogBUGZ" has everything a bad product name should have, like CamelCASE and a good-taste Z instead of a plural S. Since it's a bug tracker, why not -- Bugtracker? FogBugs would have been 3.5 bazillion times better than "FogBUGZ". So I'd like to ask how you came up with the name.

Of course this depends very much on opinion and is altogether an really dumb question but still. I cringe every time I see the name, so I just gotta ask.

Leonard DeVries
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Yeah, it's not an ideal name. I've been wanting to rename it "dispatcho." But the brand equity is already worth significantly more than the cost of having a yucky name.

Computer Associates has been trying to get rid of the name Erwin ever since they bought the company and they just haven't been able to do it.

We might re-case it to FogBugz one day, and eliminate the worst eyesore.

(There was a period for about 6 months when "Z" was all the rage. Antz, Dogz, and Atomz come to mind).

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Right after we set it up several months back, one of the account execs called it "fog dog" and the moniker has stuck.  I think it's a brand of clothing, or used to be.  For whatever reason, people immediately latched onto it.

Once it became a verb, I knew we'd never turn back: "Did you fog dog that issue?"  "Yes, it's fog dogged."

Not that I'm suggesting this as a new name, or anything.  Just a hopefully entertaining anecdote.

Ian Olsen
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

May I say that I consider CityDesk to be an absolutely lousy name for Content Management Software.

Outside of New York how many would even link the name with  newspaper publishing?

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

> Outside of New York how many would even link the name
> with  newspaper publishing?

Doesn't seem particular New York-ish to me.

Michael Eisenberg
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I have to disagree, I think the name 'CityDesk' is inspired!

Special Ed
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Uhhh, this Okie linked it to newspaper publishing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Hey, don't beat him up. It's not his fault, it all started with his parents, 'Joel Spolsky' indeed  ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I'm inside New York and i don't link it to newspaper publishing. The name makes sense on its own: "City" is the place where lots of people interact. "Desk" is the place where you work on stuff. Hence CityDesk sounds like the place where you work on stuff to put on that place where lots of people interact.

Mike Schiraldi
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Just rip off someone else's name, like my Soni CD player, or my Frigidoor refrigerator.

It could be called "Visible SourcedSafe".

Capn' Kirk
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Stephen, I think "city desk" is a quite standard (newspaper) publishing term, at least in the U.S.:

John C.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Actually I'm wondering if the "CityDesk" disconnect is a generational thing instead of a geographic thing. There was a LOT of romance about newspaper publishing in the '70's and '80's (movies, some Academy Award nominees; the whole Nixon thing; "stop the presses"; etc.). I suspect the internet has taken the spotlight off newspaper publishing in the '90's and Generation Y...

Regarding "Erwin" - what's wrong with it? It's perfectly descriptive: Entity Relationships for Windows. (ER/Win)

If CA doesn't like it it just goes to show that they're a bunch of stuffed shirts (my opinion only, of course)


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

"Regarding 'Erwin' - what's wrong with it?"

It sounds like that dweeb over in Accounting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Personally, I think that "Bugtracker" is the most bland, generic name imaginable. Yawn!

John Topley (
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

FogBugs would have been a fine name. FogBugz is passable, but why, oh why, the crazy capitalisation?

Mr Jack
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

It could be worse: the name could have been "FogBUGZ!", complete with trailing exclamation mark. I'm not sure I can think of any other obvious pessimizations, though :-).

Gareth McCaughan
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Regarding CityDesk, I'm not from New York, nor even the US, nor do I live there. Im from a totally different hemisphere.

And yet when I first heard the name I got exactly the image that Joel claimed somewhere he intended: "A busy section in a    metropolitan news paper".  I may have even pictured Ed Asner in Lou Grant, thought thats almost certainly been fabricated into my original memory after reading Joel's comment.
Nice name.

I do concur on FogBUGZ though. At least fix the case.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I propose:

BugTrackerZZZ MegaBlast Turbo III Delluxe

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

BugTrackerZZZ MegaBlast Turbo III Delluxe

First 100 buyers receive free Cream Salad Deluxe coupon

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"I'm not sure I can think of any other obvious pessimizations, though :-)."

Oh, that's easy: f.o.g./BUGZ!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

e-f.o.g./BUGZ! Enterprise 2004

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Philo <- almost registered back in the day as a joke.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

eXtreme e-f.o.g./BUGZ! Enterprise Studio 2004 Architect Edition

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

It's mildly amusing that the mere name of a product can elicit such...oh, whatever.

Anyway, swap some letters and you get:

>> GobFUGZ
>> BogFUGZ
>> GogFUBZ
>> FugBOGZ
>> ZogFBUG
>> BugFOGZ

George Illes
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I'm more curious about the "Fog" part. Is "Fog Creek" a real place?

phil jones
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I always assumed the misCAPitalizaTION and -- especially -- use of "z" were intentional bugs.  (Get it?  Even the bug-tracking software can't even spell its own name right.)

Joel's software names tend to strike me as kind of bland and unimaginitive.  But then, the things the programs do (keeping a list of bugs and pushing HTML) seem kind of bland to me, too.  Of course, his software sells because it's good at what it does and is easy to use, not because it does something that was previously unheard of, or because it has a catchy name.

At least they aren't actively bad names; some program names I can't even figure out how to pronounce!  I bet it takes a real genius to say "Hey, let's make our flagship product this unpronounceable mess that looks cool.  We can make our first FAQ 'how the #@!& do you pronounce that?'."

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I would love to name software, especially bug tracking or testing software.  I always think of Tom Clancy books or video games named after them - like violent names.  MECH TESTER, Without Remorse, HackAttack!  BugSniper, or for the more sensitive developers - how about FogFEATUREZ.  Too funny!  I actually did name a home grown test harness, which I don't care to share the name due to proprietary reasons ... but as a professional, I wasn't able to have too much fun with it  :  (

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

How can the name of a product be a proprietary secret?

Do your customers sneak into the shop late at night and whisper their request to get a copy of "um, you know, that product, it know. I promise I won't tell anyone what it's called or what it does." ?  :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Joel should make a personal version of city desk named FogBLOGZ

Keith Wright
Thursday, April 1, 2004


Continuing the series of Brit-oriented names, like Ars Digita.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Sunday, April 4, 2004

it was ArsDigita, not ArseDigita. In other words, it was latin, not British.

Michael Bernstein
Tuesday, April 6, 2004

When in my job we used the trial version of FogBUGZ, it was known as "F*ckBuckz".

Leonardo Herrera
Tuesday, April 6, 2004

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