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If I have a program that takes some input data, frobnicates the data, and outputs the result, should the name of the program be the verb, "frobincate", or the noun, "frobnicator"?

Here's a hypothetical invocation with the verb form:

cat data.txt | frobnicate > frobnicated.txt

and here is the same invocation with the noun form:

cat data.txt | frobnicator > frobnicated.txt

(Obviously, "frobnicate" is an imaginary verb used as an example here.)

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My convention is to use a noun for program/application names and verbs for application functionality. Using nouns to name programs seem to be the most common way, just think of the programs you use frequently, are they verbs or nouns? –  Filip Oct 31 '11 at 6:44
    
@Filip well 'cat' is short for 'concatenate' which is a vers. cd, chmod, cp, rm, and chown are all verbs. Browsing through here I feel like there's a lot of verbs. If a program takes an argument which is a command (git commit or something) then that argument should be a verb but the program itself should be a noun, I guess. But generally it seems like the program being a verb makes sense. –  MatrixFrog Oct 31 '11 at 6:52
    
Are you trying to disguise the word fornicate? ;-) –  Spoike Oct 31 '11 at 8:12
    
Hi Ryan, naming requests are off-topic here. For more information/discussion about this, see Are “name that thing” questions on-topic? –  user8 Oct 31 '11 at 8:32
    
Ok, sorry. Do you have a suggestion on which stackexchange site (if any) is more suited to this question? Also, you may want to consider eliminating the "naming" tag if possible, since the existence of that tag while I was tagging my question seemed to imply that naming questions were on-topic. –  Ryan Thompson Oct 31 '11 at 17:17
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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp Oct 31 '11 at 8:31

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1 Answer

Names of programs that are expected to be called as part of a UNIX shell pipeline should definitely be verbs syntactically. Everyone does it that way.

If you want to distribute your program as a desktop application that 'normal' people will use, a completely different set of considerations crops up: marketing, legal, user experience etc. etc. Those might well tip the scale in favor of a an actor noun, but it depends on the circumstances.

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