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Sumatra PDF Reader forum

Small, fast, free PDF, EPUB, MOBI, CHM, DJVU, CBR, CBZ reader for Windows

Name of Application

I really enjoy using Sumatra PDF, it is a well-design application!

I just have one question: can anyone tell me where the choice of names "Sumatra" came from. I realize that it is the name of the sixth largest island in the world, part of Indonesia, the name of a town in Florida and also a variety of coffee, but what was the inspiration to name a PDF viewer "Sumatra"?

I like the name, I just want to understand the connection!
Adam Hunt on February 21, 2008
There's no particular reasoning behind the name.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk on February 21, 2008
Just random?
Adam Hunt on February 21, 2008
Since this page has been linked to from Wikipedia, I'll expand.

Naming software is hard. There are few basic rules for choosing a good name:

a) it should be easy to spell, easy to type, easy to google for
b) it should be unique, as judged by search engines, so that when people do google for it, they find the program's website and not some other web page
c) it shouldn't encode the functionality of the program in case the program grows and acquires new capabilities

The process I go through when trying to find a name for a new project is:
* generate a list of potential names
* choose the best one

I don't remember why sumatra got on the list. I don't remember what other names I considered. But at the time it was the best name I could come up with.

So how did I do, judging by my own test for choosing a good name? Not so well: 1 out of three.

The name is easy to spell so I got a) right.

If you only search for "sumatra", there are many other pages, so not so great on b) (although it's much better in combination with "pdf").

And finally, after few years of development, Sumatra became a multi-format reader but it still has "PDF" in the name, so I failed my precognition test c).
Krzysztof Kowalczyk on December 9, 2011
Nicely put. (btw I came here from Wikipedia link).

Greetings from Java :)
bennylin on January 12, 2012
The name ("Sumatra") is really unique and I very esteeming that you decided the name for that applicaton, perhaps make the Sumatra island in my country Indonesia more and more famously. But really, Sumatra PDF is best for me. I always use it, and never use others anymore. Thank you Mr. Kowalczyk.
Rotmianto Mohamad on October 2, 2012
hi Krzysztof,

your software is my favorite PDF reader. thank you so much for it.

now I want to talk about the name. for your own interest and benefit. I'm not criticizing negatively or aguing. please, no hard feelings, and take the time to hear me.

every person and thing has a name, and the name is 50 % of the value and success of this person or thing. a name has a meaning, a melody and rythm. it's energy and karma. it can be good and adequate or bad and inadequate. if the name is good and adequate but the qualities aren't there, the success will only be half of what it could be. same goes the other way : if all the qualities are there but the name is bad and inadequate, the success will only be half of what it could be.

Sumatra is a bad name. sorry, but it is. Sumatra is a land, a place, which gives the software limits. if it is related to this place and people, then it's not related to all those other places and peoples. the software's karma is very limited. it cannot fly freely. and the name has no meaning at all, since nothing about the soft or about its author is related to Sumatra. the name is paramount. yes, if you change the name, you're going to loose a few users and many potential new ones for a while because the search engines won't have referenced your new page yet. but once a great and adequate name will have been given to it, after a while, you will get a lot of new users and your soft will get the attention and reward it deserves, and that you deserves.

as long as your soft will be called Sumatra PDF, it will stay second best if not way worse ; when this David has all the inner qualities to beat down Goliath to a pulp. what a waste. so here is my own list of new names ; and I encourage everyone visiting this page to give their own list of names for the reader. if Krzysztof is overwhelmed by great names, he will have to change it.

for the ones submiting names, remember those :
- the soft not only displays PDF but also other eBook formats like ePub, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, CBZ and CBR.
- it could be multi-os one day, not only windows.
- the name should be a unique one. something that is not even close to anything that is already in use on the web so that search engines display its page at the top of their results.
# google your ideas to see what already exists before proposing them.

most names related to eBooks, Books, ePaper, Paper, etc, are already taken...
the author's first and last names are difficult to use because difficult to pronounce and I searched for 'Kowa' (Kowa Reader for exemple) and the name Kowa is already used by a chemical company...
a name has the most power when it touches the heart of the greater number of people, and for that the name must be international, not containing any language exclusive word. for exemple, xxxEBooks is not international, for book is an english word. but xxxPDF is international. english is the international language and everyone knows what Book means, but the more not language exclusive, the better. remember that this new name for SumatraPDF will probably be definitive, so let us have really good names to propose to Krzysztof.

my list :

(I though about eBooko Reader (eBook Kowalczyk Reader) but the name eBooko is already taken.)

after much thinking about it I eventually only thought about one or two names that I like and think fit well with the software.

GaiaPDF or TerraPDF
to me, a good transition from Sumatra PDF. it still ends with a-PDF, so people will think about Sumatra PDF, and it still relates to earth geography and people, but it has evolved to the greatest scale, the whole earth, and therefore everyone.
PDF is specific, Kryz won't like it, but anything using (e)Book(s) / (e)Paper is already taken and two syllables (Gaia-pdf) are better than three (gaia-e-book). to me, after all, PDF isn't that much of an issue because it is the standard format and when people read PDF they think eBook/eDocument and over the fact that it's proprietary PDF has all the features we need in an eBook/eDocument and we can create it easily and directly free of charge from LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Office Word or the print dialog of an html navigator.
Gaia is less used than Terra on the web. it comes out better on google results.

let everyone give their own ideas :)

also, version number, I think, should restart to 1.0 and some major features should be added :
- high-dpi ready (displays well on 4K monitors).
- full button based user interface (not menu based), with up to big beautiful buttons for touch use, win 8 style.

cheer up guys and think about great names for this soft !
Frederic on March 11, 2014

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